Headquartered in Rome, Italy, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations programs seek to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living; to improve the production, processing, marketing, and distribution of food and agricultural products; to promote rural development; and, by these means, to eliminate hunger. FAO's efforts to eliminate the Mediterranean fruit fly from the Caribbean Basin benefit the U.S. citrus industry. Likewise, U.S. cattle raisers have a direct stake in FAO efforts to eliminate a tick found in the Caribbean that carries a threatening cattle disease.
The FAO was founded in 1945 in Quebec City, Canada. In 1951 the headquarters were moved from Washington,_D.C., United States to Rome, Italy. As of November 25, 2000, it had 181 members (180 states and the European Union, List of FAO members).
The main activities concentrate on four areas:
- Developing assistance to developing countries.
- Information about nutrition, food, agriculture, forestry and fishery.
- Advice to governments .
- Neutral forum to discuss and formulate policy on major food and agriculture issues.