|CCP 01/5 (CCP: HF 00/8 - JU 00/8)
COMMITTEE ON COMMODITY PROBLEMS
Rome, 6 - 9 March 2001
REPORT OF THE JOINT MEETING
OF THE THIRTY-FIRST SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL GROUP ON HARD FIBRES AND THE
THIRTY-THIRD SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL GROUP ON JUTE, KENAF AND ALLIED FIBRES
1. The Joint Meeting of the Thirty-first Session of the Intergovernmental Group on Hard Fibres and the Thirty-third Session of the Intergovernmental Group on Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres was held from 12 to 15 December 2000 at FAO Headquarters, Rome. It was attended by delegates from the following members: Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and United States of America. Observers attended from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), International Jute Organization (IJO), and London Sisal Association.
2. The Meeting was opened by Mr H. de Haen, Assistant Director-General, who welcomed delegates on behalf of the Director-General of FAO.
3. The Meeting elected Mr O. Wilson (Tanzania) as Chairperson, Mr J. Schraven (Germany) as First Vice-Chairperson and Mr C. Fernandez (India) as Second Vice-Chairperson.
4. The Meeting adopted the Provisional Agenda CCP: HF 00/1-JU 00/1.
5. The Meeting decided that its report would be prepared by the Secretariat and despatched to participants following the meeting.
6. The Meeting suspended its formal proceedings on 12 December to permit a Consultation on Natural Fibres to take place on 12-14 December 2000. It resumed its formal proceedings on 15 December 2000.
7. In resuming its formal proceedings, the Meeting adopted recommendations relating to sisal fibre and baler twine made by the Twelfth Session of the Sub-Group on Sisal and Henequen Countries, held on 12 December 2000; it adopted the recommendations relating to jute and kenaf fibres which emerged from informal consultations among jute producing and consuming countries, also held on 12 December 2000; and in the absence of any recommendations made to it relating to abaca, it left unchanged the arrangements for that fibre. Consequently, it made the following recommendations:
The indicative price for Brazilian No. 3 fibre should be reduced from US$630 to the range US$550 to US$600 per tonne c.i.f. European ports;
The indicative price for East African UG fibre should be reduced from US$860 to the range US$700 to US$750 per tonne, c.i.f. European ports;
The indicative price for sisal and henequen baler twine should be reduced from US$20 to US$19 per 18 kg bale of regular runnage c.i.f. United States and western Europe duty paid, where applicable, if terms were cash against documents.
The indicative range of the indicator price of abaca, namely the average of S2, G and JK hand cleaned non Davao grades, should remain at US$128 to US$185 per bale of 125 kg fob Manila port;
The indicative price for Bangladesh jute should remain at US$450 +- US$30 per metric tonne sight, for BWD grade fibre fob Chittagong/Chalna;
No indicative price should be set for Thai kenaf.
8. On the basis of document CCP: HF 00/2-JU 00/2 together with more recent information provided by the Secretariat and by the observer from the International Jute Organization (IJO), the Meeting noted developments which had led to the IJO entering into liquidation, and it noted that negotiations towards a new instrument for international co-operation on jute had made progress. The Meeting paid tribute to the work done in the past by the IJO, and it looked forward to a continuation of such work by any new body to be established. It stressed that separate but complementary roles should be maintained by the Intergovernmental Group on Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres and a new body, and it urged continuation of co-operation between the two bodies including, where appropriate, the undertaking of joint activities.
9. The Meeting reviewed the progress of Common Fund projects on hard fibres on the basis of document CCP: HF 00/3-JU 00/3 and with additional information provided by delegates and observers. It noted that the Intergovernmental Group on Hard Fibres, the International Commodity Body (ICB) for hard fibres under the rules of the Common Fund for Commodities, was responsible for submitting proposals for commodity development projects to the Common Fund and for supervising the progress of these projects once implemented.
10. Regarding the project Product and Market Development of Sisal and Henequen Products which had commenced early in 1998, the Meeting adopted the conclusions of the Twelfth Session of the Sub-Group of Sisal and Henequen Producing Countries. Noting that the project was making good progress the Meeting looked forward to the advantages which would accrue to the industry following the successful conclusion of the project. It noted that two alternative proposals to study the Korogwe Leaf Spot disease of sisal needed to be synthesised by the Project Executing Agency. The Meeting further noted that initiation of project activities had taken some time, and therefore it requested that the CFC allow an additional year for completion of the project. The Meeting also endorsed the proposal that a pilot biogas generating plant be established with loan funding as part of the project or as a parallel activity of the project. It noted that the intention was for a loan to be made available to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, to be on-lent to the Tanzania Sisal Board, the government agency in charge of sisal development, and it requested that if necessary and subject to its rules, the Common Fund should show flexibility in its lending arrangements for the project in order to ensure that all elements of the project were able to advance.
11. The Meeting noted that activities on the abaca project, Improvement of Fibre Extraction and Identification of Higher Yielding Varieties appeared to be proceeding satisfactorily, although information available to it was limited as no national delegation or observer present was able to provide details of implementation. The Meeting noted with concern the potential delay to project activities which might arise from the slow delivery of laboratory equipment, and it urged that the Project Executing Agency supply this equipment as soon as possible.
12. Activities on the project on Coir-based Building and Packaging Material commenced early in 2000, with activities in the first phase located in the Netherlands and the Philippines. A simple process had been used to produce board from coconut husk. The Meeting agreed that progress so far had been promising. It noted further that several countries had expressed an interest in joining project activities following a mid-term review which was expected to be held in 2001. While recognising that there would be practical difficulties in incorporating additional countries at this stage, the Meeting agreed that interested countries might negotiate with the Project Executing Agency and the Common Fund with a view to being included in project activities, provided this could be achieved without imposing any financial or other burden on the project. The Meeting stressed that interim as well as final results of the project should be made available to all coconut-producing countries.
13. The Meeting noted that project activities on two coir projects, Product and Market Development of High Value-Added Coir Products and Improvement in Drying, Softening, Bleaching, Dyeing Coir Fibre/Yarn and Printing Coir Fibre had now been completed. A technical report on the first of these, entitled "Product and Market Development of High Value-added Coir Products", had been published as CFC Technical Bulletin Number 2, and the Meeting urged that the overdue report on the second project should be published as soon as possible. It thanked the Common Fund for its support of these two projects, and it looked forward to further project activities in support of the coir industry.
14. The Meeting noted that a Seminar on Alternative Applications for Sisal And Henequen had been held on 13 December with the support of the Common Fund, and that the proceedings of the Seminar were expected to be published in the first half of 2001. It thanked the Fund for its support of this valuable seminar, and requested that the Secretariat keep member countries informed of ongoing developments in the various applications. It further requested the Secretariat to liaise with authorities in coir producing countries and with the CFC in order to make arrangements for a similar seminar addressing the problems of the coir industry.
15. The Meeting considered proposals for two new projects. The first of these, Biotechnical Upgradation and Coir Mechanisation for Coir Spinning was circulated to delegates as document CCP: HF 00/CRS.1- JU 00/CRS.1. This proposal, which had been developed to build on the results of the earlier project on Improvement in Drying, Softening, Bleaching, Dyeing Coir Fibre/Yarn and Printing Coir Fibre, was introduced by the delegate of India. He indicated that discussions had been held between the delegations of India and Sri Lanka with a view to reformulating it as a project to be undertaken jointly by those two countries. The reformulated proposal would incorporate activities on improvement of fibre extraction and, if possible, the development of fibre analysis and standardization practices. The Meeting endorsed the proposal in principle, and requested that authorities in India and Sri Lanka work with the Secretariat and the CFC to develop it further in order to seek CFC approval as soon as possible.
16. At the request of the Sub-Group of Sisal and Henequen Producing Countries, the Meeting endorsed a second proposal: Sisal Agriculture Business Project in North Eastern Brazil, which had been made available to delegates as document CCP: HF 00/CRS.2-JU 00/CRS.2. It urged that the Secretariat work with authorities in Brazil and with the CFC to further develop the proposal in order to seek CFC approval for the full proposal as presented, or for specific components thereof, and to initiate implementation with as little delay as possible.
17. Report of the Intersessional Consultation on Fibres, Poznan, Poland, 15-16 December 1999
The report of the Consultation was provided as document CCP: HF 00/4-JU 00/4. The Meeting endorsed the value of informal intersessional meetings, and requested the Secretariat, in consultation with the Chairman, to make arrangements with an appropriate host for another Consultation late in the year 2001.
18. Report of the Twelfth Session of the Sub-Group of Sisal and Henequen Producing Countries.
The Meeting endorsed the Report of the Twelfth Session of the Sub-Group of Sisal and Henequen Producing Countries, held in Rome, 12 and 14 December 2000, which was presented to it as document CCP: HF 00/5-JU 00/5. It noted that the formulation of recommendations by the Sub-Group had facilitated its own work.
19. Informal consultations among jute producing and consuming countries
The Meeting noted that informal consultations had taken place on 12 December, and that these had proved to be valuable. Recommendations of the informal discussions on several issues had been made to the Meeting under its various agenda items, and the Meeting recommended that such informal discussions be arranged on the occasion of future Meetings.
20. On the basis of document CCP: HF 00/6-JU 00/6 the Meeting noted that the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) had, at its Sixty-second Session, made recommendations relating to the mandate and operating procedures of its intergovernmental groups. It noted also that the Sixty-third Session of the CCP, to be held in 2001, was expected to further address this issue. The Meeting therefore considered its own work programme and operational procedures, particularly its experience of the present Joint Meeting and the associated Consultation on Natural Fibres.
21. The Meeting concluded that the Consultation on Natural Fibres held in conjunction with the Joint Meeting had been very useful. The Consultation had included broad-ranging reviews of the market situation and prospects for cotton; hard fibres; and jute and allied fibres. It had included detailed analyses of the jute and sisal sectors in China, as well as a review of the contribution of jute production to food security in India. The Consultation had also included a seminar, sponsored jointly by FAO and the CFC, on Alternative Applications for Sisal and Henequen. However, as attendance at the Consultation had been low the Meeting doubted that the benefits had been commensurate with the costs. In order to stimulate greater interest in subsequent initiatives, it recommended that as many documents as possible should be distributed in advance of special consultations or conferences, so that potential participants would be better informed of the topics to be covered and better able to participate. The Meeting suggested that the status of any future consultation might be raised by providing for it to report to a plenary session of the associated groups, and that the selection of topics for such special events should be the subject of preliminary consultations with the Bureau of the groups concerned. Information about such events should be disseminated as widely as possible.
22. With regards to the functioning of the Intergovernmental Groups on Hard Fibres and Jute, participants emphasised the need to revitalise the Groups, and urged that the Secretariat seek ways in which to broaden participation in their activities. The Meeting affirmed, however, that while experts from non-governmental and private sectors could make a significant contribution to Sessions of the Intergovernmental Groups, a balance must be retained between expertise and the formal intergovernmental nature of the commodity groups. The Meeting requested that its views be communicated to the Sixty-third Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) to assist that body in its review of the role and mandate of the intergovernmental commodity groups.
23. The Meeting noted that a study on the implications of jute production on the food security of households in India had been considered in the Consultation on Natural Fibres, and it recalled that a similar study had been presented to the Joint Meeting of the two Groups in 1998. It affirmed the importance of this topic and, noting the preliminary nature of the work to date, it requested that more thorough analyses be undertaken on the relationship between production, processing and trade of fibre and household food security over a longer period of time.
24. The Meeting agreed that the next Joint Meeting of the IGG on Hard Fibres and of the IGG on Jute, Kenaf and Allied Fibres would take place in about two years' time, the exact date and venue to be determined by the Director-General in consultation with the Chairperson, and taking into account any relevant decisions by the CCP at its Sixty-third Session. The Meeting expressed appreciation to the delegate of Brazil, who emphasised that the offer he had made at the previous Joint Meeting to host either an intersessional or a formal meeting in the future remained open.
|CCP: HF/SP 00/1||Provisional agenda and timetable (Sub-Group of Sisal and Henequen Producing Countries)|
|CCP: HF 00/1-JU 00/1||Provisional annotated agenda and timetable|
|CCP: HF 00/2-JU 00/2||International cooperation on jute and the status of the IJO|
|CCP: HF 00/3-JU 00/3||Commodity development projects financed by the Common Fund for Commodities|
|CCP: HF 00/4-JU 00/4||Report of the Intersessional Consultation on Fibres, Poznan (Poland) 15- 16 November 1999|
|CCP: HF 00/5-JU 00/5||Report of the 12th Session of the Sub-Group of Sisal and Henequen Producing Countries, Rome 12 and 14 December 2000|
|CCP: HF 00/6-JU 00/6||Review by the Committee on Commodity problems of the mandate and operational procedures of the Intergovernmental Commodity Groups|
|CCP: HF 00/7-JU 00/7||Amended terms of reference and rules of procedure of the IGG on Hard Fibres|
|CCP: HF/SP 00/Inf.1||List of delegates and observers (Sub-Group of Sisal and Henequen Producing Countries)|
|CCP: HF 00/Inf.1-JU 00/Inf.1||List of delegates and observers (Joint Meeting)|
|CCP: HF 00/CRS.1-JU 00/CRS.1||Common Fund project proposal: Biotechnological upgradation and mechanisation for coir spinning|
|CCP: HF 00/CRS.2-JU 00/CRS.2||Common Fund project proposal: Sisal agriculture business project in Northeastern Brazil|