C 2001/2


Thirty-first Session

Rome, 2-13 November 2001


Table of Contents




1. World agricultural output growth of 1.2 percent in 2000 constitutes the lowest increase since 1993 and is far below the 2.7 percent growth achieved in 1999.

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2. The slowdown in 2000 is due to reduced growth in both developed and developing countries, with the former recording growth of about 0.3 percent. Among the developed countries, transition countries' agricultural production fell by nearly 2 percent in 2000, following a 6.8 percent drop in 1998 and a 1.3 percent rise in1999.

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3. Developing country agricultural performance remained relatively disappointing in 2000 with output growth of about 1.7 percent. This continues a declining trend, with output growth of around 3 percent over the 1997-99 period, well below the high rates of between 4 and 5 percent recorded from 1993 to 1996.

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Africa South of the Sahara

4. In sub-Saharan Africa, agricultural production in 2000 increased by 0.3 percent after increasing by 1.8 percent in 1999. In per capita terms, agricultural production continues to stagnate, with levels for agriculture, cereals and food items in 2000 being virtually identical to those attained in 1990. Unfavourable weather conditions as well as past and ongoing civil conflict continued to adversely affect agricultural production in a number of countries.

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5. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is the focus of increasing concern particularly in the sub-Saharan Africa region, not only with regard to its health and social implications, but also as a factor that negatively affects agricultural performance and food security. FAO has estimated that in the 25 most affected African countries seven million agricultural workers have died from AIDS since 1985, and 16 million more could die within the next 20 years. The HIV/AIDS epidemic will further exacerbate food insecurity, which is already a major threat in most sub-Saharan African countries.

Asia and the Pacific

6. Agricultural production in the Asia and the Pacific grew at 2.1 percent in 2000. With the exception of 1999, when output increased by 3.7 percent, the overall trend of agricultural production growth has been a declining one over the past few years. The main factor behind this declining trend is the slowdown in production growth in China which, from an annual average of about 6 percent in 1991-97, slowed to 4 percent in 1998 and 3.2 percent in 1999, with an estimated 3.6 percent growth in 2000.

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7. The Asian economic crisis posed a number of challenges to the agriculture sector. The sector encountered considerable difficulties in the wake of the crisis, for example in the form of higher input costs, reduced availability of financial capital and lower domestic demand for high-value products. However, compared to other economic sectors, these immediate results of the crisis had had a lesser impact on investment, employment and incomes thus confirming the rural economy's greater resilience against external shocks. However, the effects were not at all insignificant and were further compounded by drought conditions. The long-term effects of the crisis on the agricultural sector of affected countries are still uncertain. Economic recovery and currency depreciations are now providing new opportunities for the agricultural sector and are contributing to improved terms of trade between agriculture and the rest of the economy in many cases.

Latin America and the Caribbean

8. Agricultural output growth in Latin America and the Caribbean was 2.1 percent in 2000, after 5.2 percent growth in 1999. Crop and livestock production was up by 1.8 and 3 percent respectively. The region's agricultural performances in recent years were mixed. Extremely poor climatic conditions and natural disasters resulted in a marked slowdown in agricultural production growth, which reached 1.8 percent in 1998. Two unusually severe natural disasters had an impact on the region that year: the El Niņo phenomenon, which affected the Andean region in particular, and Hurricane Mitch, which provoked the worst natural disaster in Central America in more than 50 years.

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9. In addition to the fight against the exceptionally unfavourable climatic conditions experienced, efforts have been made to reduce the high concentration of land ownership accompanied by inequitable access to land in the region. After 80 years of redistributive "traditional" agrarian reforms, in which progress remained uneven, a new policy direction has emerged, focussing on market-based land reform. Market-based approaches are less costly and allow for a speedier implementation. The approach has shown some initial success in few countries of the region. However, for the time being this approach would remain as just one land policy tool among others. Traditional compulsory land purchase may continue to play a major role in most of the highly conflictive areas.

Near East and North Africa

10. In the Near East and North Africa region, agricultural output fell by 0.8 percent in 2000, after contracting 4 percent in the previous year. Drought, the dominant factor affecting agricultural production in the region in 1999, continued to adversely affect production in a number of countries. Crop output contracted by 1.3 percent, after falling by 6.7 percent in 1999. Cereal production declined by 7.7 percent after falling by 17.9 percent in 1999.

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11. The region is the most water-scarce region in the world with the level of purchases of what is known as "virtual water," i.e. the volume of water embedded in commodities that are imported, best reflecting this scarcity. It is estimated that in 1994 the amount of food imported into the region was equivalent to just under 12 percent of the region's annual renewable water resources. The efficient use of water is critical for the region and significant efforts are being made in many countries to improve the management of water resources. Although there is room for further progress, particularly regarding irrigation efficiency, the region will probably need to rely more and more on virtual water, i.e. external food production to feed its increasing population.

Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States

12. Agricultural production in the region did not follow the turnaround that occurred in GDP growth in 1999. Indeed output fell by nearly 2 percent in 2000, following a 6.8 percent drop in 1998 and a 1.3 percent rise in1999. Output in the Ukraine is estimated to rise by 5.5 percent, following output drops in 1998 and 1999. The Russian Federation is expected to see output stagnate in 2000 after 3.8 percent growth in the previous year.

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13. There is still a sizeable labour productivity gap between most countries in Central and Eastern Europe/CIS and those in the OECD, although in the most advanced reformers of Central and Eastern Europe, this gap has diminished considerably. The labour productivity gap is of particular significance for Central and Eastern Europe because of the large weight of the agriculture sector in its economies in comparison with most OECD countries. Narrowing this gap is critical for the countries of the region to be able to compete with OECD country producers, increase export earnings and raise rural incomes. Countries that have been most successful in bridging the productivity gap are those that have implemented the deepest and most stable reforms.

Developed market economies

14. Agricultural production in non-transition developed countries is estimated to have grown by about 0.9 percent in 2000, following a 2.1 percent expansion in the previous year. A number of EU producers, including France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom have seen output drop in 2000. Australia has seen output contract by 1.2 percent while Japan and Canada recorded growth of less than 1 percent. Output in the USA increased by 2.2 percent while New Zealand saw production expand by 4.6 percent.

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15. The year 2000 marked the final year for implementation of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. Current levels of agricultural support in developed market economies are still high. The OECD estimates that the prices received by farmers were on average 43 percent above world market prices. Nevertheless, according to the OECD, this overall level of market protection in developed market economies had fallen from 61 percent in 1986-88, partly as a result of efforts to achieve WTO commitments. Domestic price support measures have been gradually shifting towards less market-distorting measures, but progress has been very limited in some countries.


16. World cereal output in 2000 fell to 1856 million tonnes (including rice in milled equivalent), nearly 2 percent below the 1999 level, and below the average for the past five years. In part this drop was due to natural disasters and low prices prevailing in recent years. However the single largest factor was a sharp drop in output in China after years of bumper crops.





(. . . . . . million tonnes . . . . . .)

Production 1/

1 887

1 856




Coarse grains



Rice (milled)



Supply 2/

2 595

2 560


1 889

1 910

    Trade 3/



    Ending Stocks 4/



Source: FAO
1/ Data refer to calendar year of the first year shown. Rice in milled equivalent.
2/ Production plus opening stocks.
3/ July/June basis for wheat and coarse grains and calendar year (second year shown) for rice.
4/ May not equal the difference between supply and utilization due to differences in individual country marketing years.

17. World cereal utilization in 2000/01 was expected to outpace global production for the second consecutive year. Total cereal utilization was forecast to reach 1 910 million tonnes. At this level, world cereal utilization would be 21 million tonnes, or 1 percent, above 1999/2000, but still slighly (about 2 million tonnes below the 10-year trend.

18. World cereal stocks by the close of the seasons ending in 2001 were forecast to approach 654 million tonnes, some 51 million tonnes, or over 7 percent, below their already reduced opening levels.

19. World cereal trade in 2000/01 was forecast to reach 230 million tonnes, down 3 million tonnes from the previous season's estimated record volume.

20. Total cereal imports by the developing countries in 2000/01 were expected to reach 168 million tonnes, nearly unchanged from the record volume reached in 1999/00. The overall cereal import bill of the developing countries in 2000/01 is currently estimated at US$22.4 billion, or 4 percent, above the previous year's value. This increase has been brought about mainly by the rise in grain prices in 2000/01.


21. Food shortages caused by natural and human-caused disasters continue to affect many countries. As of September 2001, there were 34 countries and over 60 million people facing food emergencies.

22. In East Africa, severe floods, erratic rains and escalation of conflict in parts have dimmed earlier optimism of an overall strong recovery from the impact of the recent prolonged severe drought in the sub-region. In Sudan, extensive floods have displaced tens of thousands of people and aggravated the already precarious food supply situation. Kenya and Ethiopia have seen an overall improvement in food supply, but inadequate rains and continued drought conditions have dimmed hopes of recovery from the effects of the recent devastating drought.

23. In West Africa, several countries face food supply difficulties resulting from localised weather adversities or civil strife in 2000. In the Sahel, the food situation was tight during the lean season in parts of Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger following reduced harvests in 2000. In Guinea and Sierra Leone, fighting in border areas has affected agricultural and marketing activities and caused new waves of population displacement. Food difficulties also persist in Liberia, as agricultural production has not yet fully recovered from the long years of civil strife.

24. In the Great Lakes Region, civil strife and insecurity continue to undermine food security. In Burundi, over half a million people are in urgent need of increased humanitarian assistance. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the food supply situation remains extremely precarious for large sections of the population affected by the protracted civil war.

25. In Southern Africa, the food supply situation is tight following a sharply reduced 2001 cereal harvest, affected by dry spells, severe floods and disruption of farming activities in parts. In Zimbabwe, the maize output declined significantly. In Malawi, severe floods adversely affected production and in Mozambique, despite an increase in cereal output this year, food difficulties are experienced in the southern provinces. In Angola, the food situation remains extremely tight for increasing numbers of internally displaced people.

26. In the Near East and North Africa, three consecutive years of drought and below normal rains have severely reduced food output, with particularly sharp falls in Afghanistan, Jordan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Syria. In Afghanistan, three consecutive years of drought and civil strife have resulted in a very serious food crisis. In northern Africa, the 2001 aggregate cereal output is expected to be below average as a result of inadequate rainfall over many areas in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The food security situation in the Gaza Strip and West Bank has been seriously affected by the intensified border closure and compounded by an increased incidence of nutritional and health-related problems particularly among the young and vulnerable population groups.

27. In Asia, adverse weather conditions posed serious threat to the food security situation in a number of countries. In the DPR Korea, the food supply situation remains precarious. In Mongolia two consecutive years of harsh winter decimated the livelihood of nomadic herders and pastoralists. In Pakistan and India, severe drought followed by devastating flash floods, affected cereal and livestock production. Nevertheless, large national food stocks are expected to cover this year's shortfall in cereal production.

28. In Latin America and the Caribbean, some one million people are receiving food aid as a result of adverse weather, earthquakes and economic difficulties. Recurrent dry spells and recent earthquakes are making it difficult for Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Mitch in October 1998. In Colombia, an emerging humanitarian crisis of internally displaced populations due to escalating civil strife is cause for serious concern.

29. In the CIS, civil strife in Chechnya has left hundreds of thousands displaced. The agricultural sector suffered severe damages. Elsewhere in the CIS, drought coupled with structural problems and lack of access to sufficient agricultural inputs have led to a sharp reduction in crop production for the last two years. Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Armenia are particularly affected and face severe food shortages.


30. World production of fish, shellfish and other aquatic animals increased from 118 million tonnes in 1998 to 126 million tonnes in 1999, the latest year for which complete information is available. The value of total fishery production grew by 7 percent to an estimated US$ 125 billion. Capture fisheries production amounted to 92.9 million tonnes, a 7 percent increase compared to 1998, but about 1 million tonnes below the record levels reached in 1996 and 1997. Aquaculture increased by 2.5 million tonnes reaching 33.3 million tonnes in 1999.

Table. World Fish Production








  (........................................million tonnes........................................)
Marine capture 84.9 84.6 86.1 86.3 79.0 84.6
Inland capture 6.7 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 8.3
Total capture 91.6 91.9 93.5 93.8 86.9 92.9
Marine aquaculture 8.7 10.5 10.9 11.2 12.1 13.3
Inland aquaculture 12.1 14.0 16.0 17.5 18.7 20.0
Total aquaculture 20.8 24.5 26.9 28.7 30.8 33.3
Total production 112.4 116.4 120.3 122.5 117.7 126.2

Source: FAO, Yearbook of fishery statistics, vol. 88/1 and 2.

31. The increase in capture fisheries occurred as fish stocks in the Southeast Pacific recovered from the effects of the El Niņo atmospheric phenomenon in 1997/98. Aquaculture production, from both inland and marine waters, continued to increase in 1999. In addition, world fisheries produced 10.7 million tonnes of seaweeds (wet weight) the largest part of which from culture-based practices.

32. Preliminary estimates for 2000 indicate a further slight growth in total production; most of the increase originated from aquaculture, while capture fisheries remained more or less at 1999 levels.

33. In 1999, over three quarters (or 97 million tonnes) of the global fishery production were used for direct human consumption, with an estimated average of 16.3 kg of food fish supply per capita (live weight equivalent).

Table. Per Caput Food Fish Supply










Per caput supply







Source: FAO FIDI.

34. In 1999, about 29.0 million tonnes of fish were used for reduction to meal and oil, 5.4 million tonnes more compared to the previous year.

35. In 1999, international exports (in live weight equivalent) of fish and fishery products (excluding seaweed), traded both as food and feed products, were close to 43 million tonnes -an increase of 11 percent compared to the previous year. Exports of fish and fishery products expanded to US$ 52.9 billion, an increase of 3.3 percent at current values, compared to 1998.

36. Most of the fishery exports were destined to developed countries, which accounted for 85 percent of the total value of imports. Developing countries' net fish exports have now stabilised at between US$ 16 billion and US$ 17 billion per year, offering a significant source of foreign currency earnings.

37. Preliminary data for 2000 indicate an increase of the world imports of fish and fishery products. Imports by Japan, the United States and the European Union increased by 6 percent, 12 percent and 9 percent, respectively, compared to 1999.


38. Global markets for forest products recovered slightly in 1999, due to strong growth in developed countries and the start of economic recovery in Asia. Overall, global roundwood production increased by 1.5 percent to 3,275 million m3, with increases of 0.9 percent and 2.6 percent in developing and developed countries respectively. Industrial roundwood production (which excludes the use of wood for fuel) accounted for about 47 percent of total roundwood production and increased by 1.4 percent to 1,525 million m3. Developed country production rose by 2.4 percent to 1,117 million m3, while developing country production fell from 413 million m3 to 409 million m3.

Global Production of Forest Products, 1995-1999


1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
ROUNDWOOD TOTAL (million m3) 3213 3217 3291 3226 3275
Developing Countries






Developed Countries






SOLID WOOD PRODUCTS TOTAL (million m3) 572 578 587 574 592
Developing Countries






Developed Countries






PULP AND PAPER TOTAL (million MT) 443 439 462 461 480
Developing Countries






Developed Countries






Source: FAO

39. Global production of solid wood products (sawnwood and wood based panels) also increased during 1999, by 3.2 percent to a level of 590 million m3. Sawnwood production increased by 3.1 percent to 430 million m3, while wood-based panel production increased by 3.5 percent to 160 million m3. Again, developed countries led the increase in production. Production of pulp and paper increased by 4.2 percent to 480 million MT. However, developing countries led the recovery with an increase of 11.2 percent to just under 100 million MT while, in developed countries, the increase was only 2.6 percent to 380 million MT.

40. Global trade in forest products also recovered from the poor performance experienced in the previous year. Exports increased during 1999 across all regions in the solid wood sector, but remained flat in the pulp and paper sector. The value of global industrial roundwood exports increased by 10 percent to US$ 7.2 billion. Exports from developing countries increased by 12.4 percent in 1999 to US$ 2.1 billion, while exports from developed countries increased by 8.8 percent to just over US$ 5 billion. These export levels are still well below the averages for previous years.

Global Exports of Forest Products, 1995-1999







TOTAL (billion US$)






Developing Countries






Developed Countries












Developing Countries






Developed Countries












Developing Countries






Developed Countries






41. Exports of sawnwood increased by 6.8 percent to US$ 23.7 billion. Exports from developed countries increased by 7.9 percent to US$ 20.6 billion and accounted for nearly all of this growth. In contrast, exports from developing countries increased by only 0.3 percent. In the wood based panels sector, the opposite situation occurred. Exports increased overall by 11.9 percent to US$ 17.6 billion and developing countries led the way. Exports from developing countries increased by 25.2 percent to US$ 6.5 billion, while exports from developed countries increased by only 5.3 percent. Economic recovery in Southeast Asian economies such as Indonesia and Malaysia, accounted for much of this growth.

42. Exports of wood pulp, paper and paperboard in 1999 amounted to just over US$ 81 billion and remained unchanged from the previous year. This situation of zero growth occurred in both developed and developing countries. The volume of exports increased slightly in 1999, but the value of exports remained unchanged due to a slight fall in prices.



43. FAO estimates that worldwide, 815 million people were undernourished, or chronically food insecure in 1997-99. Also, WHO indicates that the extent of micronutrient deficiencies are staggering:


44. Nearly 150 million children under five suffer from protein-energy malnutrition and the situation is particularly grave in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

45. About 11%, or 13.7 million new-borns in total, suffer from intrauterine growth retardation in developing countries, an indication of widespread poor nutrition among pregnant women. Low birth weight constitutes a high risk for serious morbidity and mortality during infancy and adulthood, as well as for reduced work capacity and strength.

46. Improvements over the last 20 years in protein-energy malnutrition among infants and young children have been very uneven. Overall, the number of children suffering from Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) in developing countries has fallen by only 26.1 million, or 10.7% between 1980 and 2000.

Undisplayed Graphic
Source: WHO


47. A growing body of literature suggests a positive and significant relationship between nutrition and economic outcomes. For example, a study on Sierra Leone finds that an average increase of 50 percent in calories per consumer equivalent increases farm output by 16.5%, or 379 kilograms, with larger output responses for lower initial levels of calorie intake. A study on Rwanda found that those who are poorly fed have to choose activities, which are physically less demanding - and less well paid.

48. There is also an increasing awareness of the role of micronutrients in the nutritional status of people. In adults, iron deficiency negatively affects work capacity and productivity. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy affects child growth and mental development negatively and in the extreme causes cretinism.


49. Inadequate consumption of protein and energy as well as deficiencies in key micronutrients such as iodine, vitamin A and iron are also key factors in the morbidity and mortality of children and adults. A staggering 55% of the nearly 12 million deaths each year among under five year old children in the developing world are associated with malnutrition.

50. Micronutrient deficiencies also contribute significantly to the burden of disease. Iron deficiency is associated with malaria, intestinal parasitic infestations and chronic infections. Chronic iodine deficiency causes goitre in adults and children, as well as impacting mental health. A UN report states that improvements in vitamin A status have led to a 23% reduction in mortality among children aged 1 to 5.


51. Empirical evidence indicates that early childhood nutrition plays a key role in cognitive achievement, learning capacity, and ultimately household welfare. Specifically, available studies have shown that:

52. Children are most vulnerable to malnutrition in utero and before they are three years of age as growth rates are fastest and they are most dependent on others for care. However nutrition interventions, such as school feeding programmes, among school age children are also important for strengthening learning capacity.


53. The impact of nutrition on labour productivity, health and education ultimately filters through to higher levels of overall economic growth. A recent FAO study indicates that nutrition positively affects economic growth directly through its impact on labour productivity, and indirectly, through improvements in life expectancy.4 The results suggest that raising the per capita calorie consumption to 2770 kcal per day in countries where it is below that level would increase their per capita GDP growth rate by between 0.34 and 1.48 percentage points per year. Improved nutrition affects economic growth directly through its impact on labour productivity and indirectly through improvements in life expectancy.

54. Nobel Laureate Robert Fogel finds that reductions in the incidence of infectious diseases along with changes in the composition of diet and clothing and shelter increased the efficiency with which food energy is converted into work output.5 Many of these thermodynamic and physiological benefits accrue from public sector investments made up to a century earlier. In the case of Britain, Fogel shows that a combination of increases in the labour force participation rate, the availability of calories for consumption by workers, and in thermodynamic efficiency led to a .50 percent yearly increase in per capita income, or half of the annual British growth rate from 1790 to 1980.


55. Nutrition is an integral part of meeting 'basic needs' and is seen as a human right. But nutrition is also increasingly understood as an investment in human capital that raises output as well as the returns on investments in education and health care. For these reasons, nutrition interventions have been found to positively affect welfare and economic growth. Taken together, these findings provide powerful evidence that public investment in nutrition should constitute a top priority for many developing countries.


56. The negotiations for continuing the reform process under Article 20 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), launched in February 2000, are now well advanced. The 4th WTO Ministerial set in Doha, Qatar in November 2001 will determine whether a comprehensive round of multilateral negotiations will be launched at this time. In either case, the negotiations on agriculture must continue as mandated in Article 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture.

57. A total of 44 negotiating proposals have been submitted thus far, sponsored by 125 countries, either individually or in-groups. The proposals address the range of issues mandated for the negotiations, including the three pillars of the AoA - market access, domestic support and export competition - as well as the cross-cutting issues of special and differential treatment for various groups of countries and non-trade concerns ranging from food security to animal welfare.


58. Most of the proposals on market access call for some form of tariff reduction. However they differ markedly in the pace and depth of cuts envisaged. Many proposals from developing countries have argued that further tariff reductions on their part will only be acceptable if there are significant disciplines on the domestic supports and export subsidies of the developed countries.

59. Several proposals recommend that special consideration be given to "sensitive" products. Where elaborated, these sensitive products generally relate to basic food security concerns not only of developing countries but of developed countries as well.

60. Most of the proposals on tariff-quotas (TRQ) call for an increase in quota volumes and reductions of in-quota and over-quota tariffs. Recognising that TRQ administration methods can affect fill rates, several proposals call for improvements to ensure that administrative measures are not used as a means of blocking market access.

61. A number of proposals have addressed the issue of the special agricultural safeguard (SSG), either suggesting that the SSG should be eliminated and/or extended to developing countries or to see the SSG continued and extended to other sensitive commodities.

62. An issue of concern to many developing countries in the area of market access has to do with the erosion of preferences currently enjoyed under various programmes, including inter alia the Generalised System of Preferences, the EU agreements with the members of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) group and the US preferences for Caribbean as well as to other sugar exporters. A number of proposals on tariffs and TRQs have stressed the need to ensure that these traditional trading relationships are not harmed.


63. Although the AoA acknowledges that domestic policy can distort trade and therefore should be disciplined, it has proven difficult to find operationally effective and politically acceptable measures for doing so.

64. Most of the proposals on domestic support retain a distinction between policies that are trade-distorting and those that are considered to have no or at most minimal effects on production and trade. Several proposals call for tightening the criteria for the so-called "Green Box" exemptions to ensure that such policies are in fact minimally trade distorting. Others call for broadening the Green Box criteria to ensure that all countries have the necessary policy flexibility to pursue their non-trade concerns. As regards the exemption for supports provided under production-limiting programmes - the "Blue Box" - several proposals argue that this was a transitional measure and recommend phasing it out. Some proposals make the case that Blue Box policies are less trade distorting than others and argue that they constitute an important constraint on domestic supports and should be retained.

65. Most proposals call for tightening the disciplines on the non-exempt "Amber Box" policies. These are policies that are included in the Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) and are subject to reduction commitments. Most proposals call for further reductions for the AMS, while some call for an overall cap on the amount of non-exempt support that can be provided.

66. Several proposals recommend that the current framework of Amber, Blue and Green Boxes should be maintained, along with the general rules and disciplines applying to them. While these countries are prepared to discuss specific disciplines, they are seeking greater flexibility in the use of domestic support measures to support the non-trade aspects of agriculture.


67. Most proposals agree that direct export subsidies should be prohibited, although they differ in terms of the speed with which they would eliminate such subsidies. Also, most proposals agree that food aid should be provided in ways that avoid disrupting local markets or displacing normal trade. Proposals regarding state trading exporters generally advocate measures to improve the transparency and predictability of their activities, such as requiring notifications of transactions to the WTO, including prices and trade volumes.


68. Many proposals deal with food security concerns, generally calling for greater flexibility for developing countries in the areas of domestic support and market access in order to facilitate the development of their agricultural productive potential.

69. Several proposals call for improving the operational effectiveness of the Marrakesh Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries. A concrete proposal in this regard involves the creation of a Revolving Fund that (i) would ensure that adequate financing at concessional terms is made available to the net food-importing developing countries (NFIDCs) and LDCs in times of high world market prices and (ii) would provide technical and financial assistance to NFIDCs and LDCs for specific projects linked to improving agricultural productivity and related infrastructure.


70. As mandated by the 1996 World Food Summit, the FAO Secretariat has intensified its support to Member governments in the negotiations on agriculture. This support is being provided in the form of information and databases, analytical studies and expert consultations, and capacity building activities. At the request of members of the WTO Committee of Agriculture, FAO is also providing analyses to clarify the practicality of the Revolving Fund proposal.


1 For more detail, relevant sections of the Regional Review, the State of Food and Agrciculture 2001

2 Up-to-date market information, including FAO's latest forecasts for 2001/02, can be found in FAO's bi-monthly Food Outlook reports.

3 For a more detailed discussion of the material, as well as references, see The State of Food and Agriculture 2001.

4 FAO. 2000. Undernourishment and economic growth: the efficiency cost of hunger, By J. Arcand. FAO Economic and Social Development Paper No 147. Rome.

5 R. Fogel. 1994. Economic growth, population theory and physiology: the bearing of long-term processes on the making of economic policy. American Economic Review, 84(3):369-95.

6 For a more detailed discussion of the material in this section please see The State of Food and Agriculture 2001.