Following a recommendation of the Third Session of the Conference, the Council of FAO at its first session asked the Director-General to examine the problems connected with fruits and vegetables. Preliminary studies showed that the immediate problems were largely concentrated in Europe where some countries are faced with extremely critical situations arising out of the possibility of a burdensome surplus of these highly perishable commodities.
A meeting of European experts on this subject was held in Rome, 17–19 March 1948, to consider the situation and to make recommendations as to further action to be taken by Governments and by FAO.
The Council approves the recommendations of this meeting (CL 2/17) subject to a reservation on the proposal that a permanent secretariat to service a Study Group on Fruits and Vegetables be established and financed by FAO. In addition, the Council adopts the following resolution:
having examined the situation in regard to fruits and vegetables in Europe and having noted that certain countries may be faced with a burden-some surplus arising out of the forthcoming crop;
considers that immediate action is necessary; and therefore
recommends that the Governments (including the occupation authorities in Germany) concerned with this problem examine the possibility of developing commercial marketing opportunities by concerted action in order to prevent the loss to human consumption of the large quantity of highly nutritive foodstuffs which these export surpluses represent.
The Council also notes that some European countries have been unable to transport to foreign countries their surplus production of fruits and vegetables. However, an arrangement is now under consideration by the various European railway companies whereby the problem would be solved by providing for refrigeration facilities on a co-operative basis. Such an arrangement would be effected through an international technical understanding rather than an intergovernmental agreement.
The Council adopts the following resolution of this subject:
having heard a statement on a draft plan relating to the co-ordination of refrigerated transport in Europe between the railway companies of the countries concerned;
that such action would facilitate the distribution of perishable feedstuffs (fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and dairy products, etc.) in Europe;
that local maladjustments in the supply and demand position of these commodities which are of high nutritive value can thus be solved at a regional level, and that this experiment might be instrumental in stimulating similar action in other regions where comparable problems arise;
approves the initiative taken in Europe, and hopes that it may promptly be implemented through a technical understanding between the nations concerned.