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Mario Zappacosta

Team Leader, Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS)

How I work with Harvest

Mario Zappacosta is the Team Leader of the FAO Global Information and Early Warning System for food and agriculture (GIEWS). GIEWS has been monitoring food supply and demand parameters and assessing the food security situation in all countries across the world since the mid-1970s. GIEWS issues regular analytical and objective reports on prevailing food security conditions and provides early warnings of impending food crises in order to guide international and national interventions. As one of its tasks, GIEWS monitors conditions of major foodcrops across the globe and provides early assessments of production prospects. To support the analysis and supplement ground-based information, GIEWS utilizes remote sensing data that provide a significant insight on water availability and vegetation health during the cropping season. In 2014, GIEWS has developed the Agricultural Stress Index (ASI), a quick-look Earth Observation indicator for early identification of agricultural areas probably affected by dry spells or drought conditions. The ASI won the 2016 Geospatial World Excellence Award.


Mario Zappacosta is a senior economist with over 25 years of experience in monitoring and analyzing food security at national and regional levels. He has led several crop and food security assessment missions in countries experiencing imminent food crises, such as Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen, Myanmar and DPRK.

Mario Zappacosta