The Council appointed an ad hoc committee on short term problems comprising the representatives of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The Committee examined short term problems under the following headings: cereals, livestock, fertilizers, machinery, infestation, exchange problems, commodity policy, transportation and marketing. The Council took the following action on the basis of the committee's report:
1. The Council drew attention to the recommendations of the Special Cereals Conference (Paris, July 1947) with respect to collection and utilization of indigenous grains.
2. The Council also noted a suggestion regarding the possibilities of adding sugar and potatoes or potato starch and dried skimmed milk to bread flour as a means of extending supplies of cereals.
3. The Council adopted the following resolution on cereals:
That in view of the present unfavorable prospects for winter wheat production in the Northern Hemisphere in 1948, the Council recommends that there should be maximum seeding of cereals, including rice, in appropriate countries in the spring of 1948, and that the Southern Hemisphere countries plant cereals to their maximum in their sowing periods.
The Council adopted the report of the Hague Conference (Documant CL ⅓) and recommended that the attention of Member Governments again be drawn to the recommendations of the Special Meeting on Urgent Food Problems and to the following measures for dealing with existing problems.
Eliminate the wastefulness of underfeeding or overfeeding livestock;
As a vital contribution to overcome the problem, maximize the use of grass including its conservation by cheap methods of silage and pasture management;
Carry pigs only to such weights as give the most economical use of feeds;
Encourage the production of crops such as grain sorghums, millets, etc. where this can be done without displacing grains for human food;
Make available through FAO livestock and feed experts to countries desiring assistance in feed utilization plans.
The Council agreed that the real problem facing world agriculture today is the insufficiency of chemical nitrogen fertilizers and suggested that Governments, in accordance with their respective agricultural structure, promote policies of maximum utilization of organic nitrogen and where appropriate grow crops for green manuring purposes. The Council adopted the following recommendation:
Recognizing that the supply of nitrogen fertilizer is a limiting factor in the expansion of agricultural output and believing that despite the difficulties of industrial reconstruction in many producing countries it might be possible to take further steps to increase nitrogen production.
Requests the Fertilizer Committee of the IEFC to prepare if possible by 1st January 1948, a report on the further practical measures which in its view could be taken by member governments to increase the output and export availabilities of nitrogen fertilizer;
Urges Member Governments in the meantime to reconsider the possibility of increasing the amount of nitrogen as fertilizer which they can make available for export by all means, including the possibility of diversion of some tonnage now used for industrial purposes; and
Invites the cooperation of United Nations specialized agencies in the study to be made by the Fertilizer Committee.
The Council reaffirmed the resolution passed at Geneva in respect to farm machinery and urges Member Governments to increase the export of available machinery and spare parts to the places where they are likely most needed. The Council also recommends immediate study of the supply and demand position for the next five years and urges Governments to cooperate fully in furnishing information in the study and solution of this problem.
The Council, impressed with the fact that a substantial saving in the world's supply could be made at once by the application of infestation controls which are practical and relatively inexpensive, requested that the Memorandum on Food Losses (Doc. CL 1/4) be circulated to Member Governments with the recommendation that special consideration be given as soon as possible to providing the administrative and technical facilities requisite to an effective program of inspection and infestation control.
The Council also recommended that FAO endeavor to make available to Member Governments specific instructions for the treatment of infested cereals and cereal products.
The Council adopted the following recommendations on exchange difficulties:
Recognizing that the ability of many countries to finance essential food import requirements has been reduced by developments in the international exchange position in past months even to the point at which some are unable to take up available amounts of commodities in short supply, and
Recognizing also that these circumstances have aggravated the problems of food and nutrition in many countries,
The Council, as a first step, requests the Director-General
to keep the situation under review, submitting periodic statements, and
in consultation with the International Monetary Fund, to prepare for the consideration of the Council a report on the practical measures which have been or might be taken to alleviate this situation.
Oils and Fats - The Council recommends that the attention of Member Governments be drawn to the report on Oils and Fats recently issued by the Oils and Fats Committee of the IEFC and in particular to that part of the report touching on the possibilities of increased production. It is understood that the Oils and Fats Committee will continue its studies.
Dried Whole and Skimmed Milk - The Council recommends that all possible steps should be taken to further the export of dried whole milk to countries in need of such supplies for infants and young children.
The Council referred to the following statement of the Geneva Conference with regard to the maximum utilization of milk for human consumption:
“All the milk that is produced should be contributing its maximum toward human consumption. In particular, much of the milk now being fed to animals should be diverted to direct human consumption, especially to mothers and children in processed form or even in its natural form, if suitable transport and distribution arrangements are possible.”
In connection with this statement the Council wishes to draw special attention to dried skimmed milk as a product of great value in safe-guarding and improving the health of children and mothers, particularly in the present emergency.
The Council recommended
That Governments of producing and importing countries should consider the most effective means of increasing the production and consumption of dried skimmed milk and that a report on the subject should be prepared by the Secretariat for the next meeting of the Council.
Rice - The Council noted with satisfaction that the Director-General's plans for meetings to be held in Asia during 1948, include one on rice.
Wheat - The Council, taking note of the forthcoming meeting of the International Wheat Council, expressed the view that wheat was a world testing ground for international commodity agreements. As the Council believed that such agreements can probably provide the best framework for combining an expansion of production with reasonable stability of prices at levels fair to producers and consumers, it agreed to draw the attention of Member Governments who are members of the International Wheat Council to the significance of the December meeting. The Council also sent a message of good will to the Wheat Council meeting, stressing the importance of a speedy and successful outcome to the negotiations for a wheat agreement.
In the course of the Council's discussion of cereals, the suggestion was made that attention should be given to the possibility of adding sugar and potatoes or potato starch and dried skimmed milk to bread flour as a means of extending the short supply of cereals. The Council agreed to draw this to the notice of the International Sugar Council in respect of sugar.
Fishery Products - The Council recommended that FAO give special attention to the problems of transportation, storage and exchange difficulties in relation to fisheries products.
Fresh Vegetables and Fresh Fruit - The Council requested the FAO secretariat to examine the problems attending fresh vegetables and fresh fruit with a view to bringing to the next meeting of the Council more complete information and recommendations as to how to deal with the problems. It was suggested that the secretariat should take advantage of the help of Member Governments with special experience in this field.
Transportation and Marketing
The Council noted the present difficulties in obtaining sufficient ships to transport cereals which are actually available and drew this fact to the attention of member governments in the hope that steps can be taken at once to ensure the maximum early movement of available supplies in surplus areas to the areas of deficiency.
International Trade Organization
The Council gave special attention to the draft charter of the ITO and agreed to send a message of good will to the forthcoming Conference.