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1. The Council of FAO which was established by the Third Session of the FAO Conference, has held its first session in Washington, D.C. from 4 November to 11 November.

2. The Council has been confronted with a grave world food situation, one which has deteriorated since the Geneva session of the Conference. The outlook from now until the summer of 1948 is one of widespread and severe shortage especially in the case of cereals including rice. Nor is there any prospect in the majority of countries of a marked improvement in 1948/49.

3. The Council considers that its foremost task is to direct all the activities of the Organization toward meeting this situation. The trend toward increasing scarcity must be arrested, and production programs put into effect so that food rationing can be lifted and improvements in nutritional levels initiated as early as possible.

4. The Council has considered the problem in three phases. The most immediate short-term problem is to maximize the amount of food available for human consumption between now and the summer of 1948. The second or intermediate phase, which may cover some 4 or 5 years, is to expand food production wherever possible and to make sure that the necessary supplies of fertilizers, farm machinery and other equipment are available. The third phase is that of long-term agricultural development and improvement in nutritional levels, particularly in the less developed areas of the world. It is not possible to deal with these phases successively. The three problems are inter-connected, and action on all three needs to be initiated now.

Immediate Problems


5. Among the immediate problems the Council first considered the cereals situation. Although this has already been done on several occasions the Council would again urge all Governments to implement the economy measures outlined in previous Conferences, and to make even greater efforts than hitherto. It notes with satisfaction the large scale grain economy campaign now being undertaken voluntarily in the United States. In view of the unfavorable reports of winter wheat prospects in the northern hemisphere, it recommends that there should be maximum seeding of cereals including rice in all countries for the next harvest.


6. The Council considered the acute livestock situation which has arisen in Europe as a result of the cereal shortage and the effects of the 1947 drought on fodder crops and pasture. It has adopted the report of the Hague Committee on Animal Feeds and makes additional recommendations for increasing feed supplies and ensuring the best use of available feed during the coming months.


7. The Council is convinced that significant additional quanties of food could be made available for human use if infestation of foodstuffs could be more adequately controlled. FAO is circulating to Member Governments a memorandum on this subject, asking them, where appropriate, to give special and immediate consideration to developing an effective program of inspection and infestation control.


8. The Council has noted certain difficulties in obtaining sufficient ships to transport food which is actually available, and brings this matter to the urgent attention of Member Governments.

International Allocation

9. In accordance with the recommendation of the Geneva Session of the Conference that the allocation of scarce food and agricultural supplies be continued with allocation machinery more closely integrated with the work of FAO, and on the basis of recommendations by the International Emergency Food Council, the Council has made the necessary arrangements for taking over and continuing without interruption or change this work of the IEFC. The detailed arrangements regarding the transfer will be found on pages 14–18.

Foreign Exchange

10. The effect of foreign exchange difficulties in restricting international movement of essential foodstuffs has been forcefully brought to the attention of the Council. It recognizes that this question demands urgent attention and it hopes that the International Monetary Fund will cooperate in the preparation of a report on the measures already taken or which might be taken to alleviate the position. Foreign exchange difficulties are of course likely to persist beyond the immediate present into the intermediate period.

Intermediate Period


11. There are questions common both to the short-term and to the intermediate phases. One of these is the shortage of fertilizers. It may be possible to take certain steps to increase the output and export availability of nitrogen fertilizer, the type most needed, in the next few months and the Council has requested the IEFC Fertilizer Committee to report on this, if possible by 1 January 1948. It also draws the attention of Member Governments to, and requests FAO to study, the need for further development of fertilizer production to enable the agricultural production programs of the next 5 years to be carried through.

Farm Machinery

12. Similarly in respect to farm machinery the Council urges Member Governments to increase the export availability of machinery and spare parts to the places where they are most needed. It also recommends immediate study of the demand and supply position over the next 5 years.

Production Plans

13. The Council is of the opinion that the present world food shortage and the needs of a progressively increasing world population demand the initiation, where it has not already been done, of national programs for increased production. In its examination of the possibilities of maximum production, the Council has been impressed with the necessity for the preparation also of programs setting out what will be required, e.g. tractors, farm implements and fertilizers, in order to enable the production goals to be reached. The Council is also impressed with the desirability that whereever practicable production and supply programs should be prepared to cover a period of years, e.g., 5 years. If this is done, it would show the progressive steps which individual nations could take to deal with their food and agricultural problems, and would enable plans to be formulated in conjunction with other United Nations agencies to meet their overall requirements over a period of years.

14. The Council has therefore established a Policy Committee on Production and Distribution. This Committee, working with the staff of FAO and regional offices, will secure all possible information on the individual production plans of the member nations. In countries where no programs have yet been formulated, FAO should be able to assist, if so requested, by making technical advice available for the drawing up of plans. It will be the responsibility of the Council to analyse the reports received from Member Governments and to present to the governments and to the annual Sessions of the FAO Conference the World picture of nutrition, production and trade which emerges, and to make recommendations regarding the increase of production and the adjustment of supplies and requirements where necessary and practicable. These studies and reports will link in with those of individual commodity situations (see below) as well as with those made by other international organizations, for example, on foreign exchange problems.

Commodity Problems

15. There are important commodities for which intergovernmental commodity agreements would probably provide the best framework for combining an expansion of production with reasonable stability of prices at levels fair to producers and consumers. In this connection the Council is sending to the December meeting of the International Wheat Council a message stressing the importance of securing at that meeting the conclusion of an international wheat agreement. (see page 19)

16. For certain other important products the position including possibilities of intergovernmental agreement is being studied. The Council notes that the Director-General has convened a meeting on rice to be held in February in the Far East to consider what action can be taken at the governmental level to improve production and distribution following the recommendations of the recent Rice Study Group, which met at Trivandrum, India, and to consider what further intergovernmental action is appropriate.

17. The Council recommends further intergovernmental study of fats and oils by the Fats and Oils Committee of the IEFC. It likewise recommends a study and report on the most effective means of increasing production and consumption of dried whole and skim milk. It further recommends that the Secretariat examine the problems of international trade in fresh vegetables and fresh fruit both in their regional and their international aspects, reporting to the next session of the Council.

International Trade Organization

18. The Council gave special consideration to the Draft Charter of the proposed International Trade Organization, the provisions of which are significant to all phases of the food problem. The Council is sending a message of good-will to the forthcoming Havana Conference. (Page 18) FAO attaches great importance to the reduction of trade barriers and to the negotiation, where appropriate, of intergovernmental commodity agreements. Both can make an important contribution to improving the world's food supply.

Long-Term Problems

Preparatory Commission's Report

19. Turning finally to the long-term food problem, this was exhaustively examined by the FAO Preparatory Commission World Food Proposals, whose recommendations were unanimously endorsed at the recent Annual Conference of FAO. That report emphasized the necessity for a large and rapid expansion of production and consumption of agricultural commodities in order to realize the objectives of FAO and to make the maximum contribution to the world's economic progress.

Agricultural-Industrial Expansion

20. The Preparatory Commission's Report also made it clear that agricultural expansion must be accompanied by parallel industrial expansion, and in this connection the Council has noted that the Draft Charter of ITO contains important proposals regarding economic development. The Council has stressed the need for an organization performing in the industrial field functions similar to those of FAO in the field of agriculture.

21. External financial aid will be involved in many of these projects and the Council will be prepared to consult with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the Agricultural aspects of development proposals submitted to it.

22. As regards United Nations economic organization, the Council has noted that the United Nations is considering the establishment, through its Economic and Social Council, of economic commissions for the Middle East and Latin America, in addition to those which have already been established for Europe and the Far East. The Council has been informed by the , Director-General of the cooperation which has already been established between FAO and the Economic Commission for Europe. The Council feels that there should be the closest relationship between these economic commissions of the United Nations and the FAO regional offices.


23. To conclude, the Council has been able at its first session to make recommendations which it is hoped will be of help to Member Nations in all three phases of the overall problem - the immediate short-term, the intermediate, and the long-term. It has made recommendations for maximizing for human consumption the food supplies of the current year. It has made arrangements for the continuation of the allocations work of the International Emergency Food Council. It has established a Policy Committee in Production and Distribution to study the measures which the Council might take to assist member governments in regard to their food and agricultural programs. It has initiated study of certain commodity problems. It has welcomed the promotion of regional activities which will bring FAO's technical services more effectively to bear on programs for agricultural development. The Council has emphasized its determination to work in the closest cooperation with all United Nations agencies with responsibilities in related fields. Finally, the Council has made a number of decisions on internal, procedural and financial matters.

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