The Council directs the most emphatic attention to the problem of loss of food by infestation, disease, and all other forms of waste. That preventable loss of food on the scale that has been estimated should occur at anytime is lamentable enough, but that it should take place under present conditions of shortage is, in the opinion of the Council, perhaps the most deplorable feature in the whole picture of the current food situation. No effort should be spared to lessen waste in all its forms: nothing is likely to bring a quicker return.
Unlike the problems of increasing supplies of fertilizers and farm machinery, which are discussed later in the report, prevention of waste is not primarily dependent on industrial output. Nor do many efforts to prevent waste require time to take effect. They lie squarely in the field of agriculture and Governments can begin at once. The Council accordingly reaffirms its conviction that action must be taken by Governments to reduce the losses caused by insects, rodents, and other pests of grain in storage and transit if the world's food supply is to be adequate to meet current needs. It further calls attention to the importance of other forms of conservation such as the protection of growing crops from disease and insect attack, the reduction of losses involved in over-feeding and under-feeding livestock, and the eradication of livestock diseases.
In the matter of crop protection, the depredations of locusts in many parts of the world and the blight of the wheat crop by rust which occurred in northern India last year, are examples of crop losses which adversely affect the world's food supply and which frequently are the direct cause of famine and suffering. Many other insect pests and many other plant diseases cause huge losses annually. These require the constant vigilance of scientists, the organized efforts of technical workers, and the full support of Governments, if substantial progress is to be achieved in the protection of growing crops.
The losses involved in under-feeding livestock represent a high proportion of waste in the food supply available for human consumption, since grain so used does not lead to compensatory increases in the yield of livestock products. Over-feeding also causes waste by diverting unnecessary quantities of grain to livestock feeding when it is so desperately needed to feed the people of the world. Both extremes should therefore be avoided and emphasis should be placed on maintaining a level of feeding which will ensure the maximum productivity of animals.
In addition, the diseases of livestock continue to exact a heavy toll of the available food supply. Not only are very grave losses of livestock being suffered in different parts of the world from such infectious diseases as rinderpest, food-and-mouth, tuberculosis, and many others, but these diseases are a constant threat to the livestock industry of adjacent areas that are free or relatively free at the present time.
While many plant pests and animal diseases are localized to an extent that the problem of control can properly be regarded as a national responsibility, the control of such livestock diseases as rinderpest and the protection of crops from the ravages of locusts, are beyond the power of national Governments and require international action. The solution of those problems having important international aspects should receive the particular attention of FAO with a view stimulating Governments toward co-operative action.
The Council considers that FAO should make itself a source of information on the incidence of plant and animal pests and diseases, the institutions where investigations are being carried out, and the names and addresses of officials, scientists and technicians who are in a position to speak with authority on the current status of control measures.
In the light of these observations, the Council feels bound on this occasion to make an urgent and emphatic appeal to Governments on this subject. It accordingly adopts the following resolution:
having reviewed the progress on infestation control since the First Session, and
being convinced of the need for continued conservation of food supplies to meet the requirements of the people of the world,
reaffirms its recommendation that Member Governments institute and promote measures to carry out an effective program of inspection and infestation control; and
recommends further that Member Governments take action, individually and collectively, to augment the world's food supply through conservation in the form of
the protection of growing crops from disease and insect attack,
the reduction of losses involved in under-feeding or over-feeding livestock, and
the eradication of livestock diseases.
also requests the Director-General
to stimulate Member Governments toward co-operative action on food conservation, particularly when the problems to be solved transcend national boundaries; and
to establish a central index of information on all matters relating to plant and animal pests and diseases.
The Council also has considered and endorsed the recommendation of the Baguio Rice Meeting that a special rice conservation campaign be undertaken to reduce the heavy losses which occur at every stage from production to household preparation for cooking. It is understood that FAO has no substantial funds to launch such a campaign, but the Council suggests that it could assist through publicity and information and generally lend its support. The Director-General is instructed to bring to the attention of Member Governments in the principal areas of rice production and consumption the best means for conducting such a campaign.