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4. Current World Food Situation
4. SituatiorPactuelle de l'alimentation mondiale
4. La situación alimentaria mundial en la actualidad

EL PRESIDENTE: Como está previsto en el Orden del Dìa comenzaremos la discusión del tema 4, situacion alimentaria mundial en la actualidad, tema para el cual disponen Uds. del documento básico CL/71/2 y también el corrigendum 1.

Vamos ahora a conceder la palabra al señor Walton, Jefe encargado del Departamento Económico y Social, para que actualice esta situación alimentaria mundial.

D.J. WALTON (Officer-in-Charge, Economic and Social Policy Department): Besides your injunction of this morning, I have a very good substantive reason for being brief. The Council examined the state of food and agriculture in some detail only six months ago, and the picture has not changed very substantially since then. Consequently, I can limit myself to a few remarks to bring up to date the information contained in document CL 71/2 and Corr.1.

The general assessment of the world food situation given in that document was finalized in March 1977, but more recent information confirms the main body of its findings. The latest revisions to FAO's index numbers of world and regional food production show that results for 1976 were marginally better than expected earlier. World food production is now estimated to have risen by 3.6% compared to the earlier estimate of 3.4% so that on a rounded basis it now becomes 4%. There are also some relatively minor adjustments in regional figures, which I do not need to enumerate.

Plantings of soy beans are likely to be sharply up in the United States and in Brazil, and large increases are also expected in production of other oil crops in both Canada and the United States. In Asia the upward trend in palm oil output is likely to continue as more young trees come into full bearing. It is still too early to forecast the 1977 sugar crop, but first indications suggest that the current surplus situation will continue.

World milk production has grown only slowly so far in 1977, while total production of the four main types of meat is still forecast to increase very little in 1977.

The latest indications suggest that the fisheries' catch in 1977 is unlikely to show any increase over 1976, mainly because of the anticipated decline in catches of non-food fish.

Finally, it appears that the fear expressed in document CL 71/2 that commitments of external assistance to agriculture might decline in 1976 has in fact been realised. This means that the gap between commitments and requirements, as estimated by FAO at the time of the World Food Conference, already large in 1975, will have widened.

Mr. Chairman, this brief review shows that the immediate world food situation is relatively encouraging, while the medium and longer-term outlook remains disturbing. A number of documents before the Council, including not only the paper the Council is now considering - which I may add was also considered by the preparatory meeting for the World Food Council - but also the reports of the Committees on World Food Security, on Commodity Problems, and on Agriculture, all these documents draw attention to many unsatisfactory features of the longer-term trends. I would like to emphasize now that the present short-term recovery - which remains fragile - must not be allowed to undermine efforts by both developed and developing countries to tackle the fundamental problems of world food and agriculture. These efforts must be viewed in a long time-perspective and, at international level, within the framework of the search for a new international economic order.

EL PRESIDENTE: Acaban ustedes de oìr la intervención del señor Walton quien ha utilizado la situación alimentaria mundial como argumento. Segun, el mismo, no ha habido cambios sustanciales en los últimos tiempos. Podemos ahora iniciar el debate del tema 4. En primer lugar voy a conceder la palabra a Checoslovaquia.

E. CAKAYDA Czechoslovakia (Interpretation from Czechoslovakian): My country, a founder member of the Organization greatly appreciates being one of those selected to contribute their best to the development activity and to the future programmes on world agriculture and in particular those of developing countries. Now, personally it is a great honour to represent my country at this session.

In the objective and the detailed analyses prepared by the Secretariat as shown in document CL 71/2, in spite of significant progress during 1976 and relatively positive prospects for 1977, the basic structural problem of development in world agriculture, food production, and trade remain to be resolved by FAO in collaboration with other United Nations bodies.

My Government is determined to cooperate actively and frankly in the implementation of programmes in line with our resources and in accordance with our own programme of international assistance in the fields of agriculture and nutrition. We would like to contribute in all activities related to the solution of the world food problem, the provision of food for all, and the protection of the human population from famine and under-nourishment which still exist in ether countries and areas.

Since particular importance is given to the technical side of assistance for developing countries, and since their needs and requirements, as recommended by their experts and authorities according to local conditions, are respected, we are in full agreement with all the new lines and provisions of technical and financial assistance.

I feel that the example and the experience of Czechoslovak agriculture can be utilized even in other countries throughout the world in future. Intensification of production with a concomitant reduction in import and labour requirements can demonstrate the benefits of the system and suitable forms of food production under difficult conditions. These results in Czechoslovak agriculture were developed in close cooperation with all socialist countries and by large-scale application of the new approved methods. We have proved the fact that it is only through the highest training and educational standards of our professional people, combined with an intensified post-graduate training programme that we are able to maintain such impressive results in agricultural production under relatively difficult conditions.

We are convinced therefore that it is in the field of training and education in different specializations that Czechoslovakia can contribute to the present and changing programme of FAO's international assistance by the preparation of complex training courses, seminars, etc. adapted to specific local conditions in the individual developing countries.

We are also interested, in cooperation with other socialist countries, to develop and to intensify further cooperation in the European region in the field of scientific and technical cooperation with an effective impact on some problems of developing countries. We strongly believe that our international activities, cooperation and contacts will intensify through our participation in this FAO Council and we shall be able to find, with your kind support, a suitable way to utilize some of our selected specialized schemes for the benefit of international assistance through the FAO programme. We are sure that this kind of cooperation will contribute positively and effectively to a general appreciation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. We therefore fully support the general lines of the approach of the Director General, Mr. Saouma.

DOÑA P. de CASTRO MONSALVO: (Colombia): La delegación de Colombia considera que el documento CL 71/2 utiliza adecuadamente hasta marzo de 1977 el estado de la situación alimentaria mundial. Nos complace que la grave crisis que tuvo lugar, particularmente entre 1972 - 74 haya cesado, recuperán-dose a partir de 1975/76. Sin embargo, como dice este documento, subsisten muchos aspectos sobre todo a largo plazo. Esto confirma la necesidad de que los gobiernos concedan mas alta prioridad a la agri-cultura en los planes nacionales de desarrollo, como se dice en el párrafo 4, a fin de que asì se estimule y canalice más efectivamente la asistencia técnica de la FAO.

El párrafo 2 nos indica que los buenos resultados de 1975-76 de la producción agricola en los paìses en desarrollo han conducido al aumento anual medio del 2,6 por ciento. Esta cifra es alentadora pero está por debajo del 4 por ciento establecido para el Segundo Decenio para el Desarrollo de las Naciones Unidas, y aún mas lejos del 6 por ciento de que ya se habló en otros documentos.

Estos hechos confirman la necesidad de que debe insistirse por todos los medios en el aumento de la producción agrìcola en los paìses en desarrollo como condición esencial para evitar nuevas crisis en el future

La ultima frase del párrafo 6 dice que en algunos paìses en desarrollo a pesar de haberse recogido mejores cosechas, los consumidores mas pobres no ban podido comprar alimentos suficientes para atender sus necesidades nutricionales. Esa situación confirma el lamentable estado del poder adquisitivo de las poblaciones rurales, lo cual desvirtúa el alcance del beneficio en desarrollo que nos llega a los grupos más vulnerables. Por eso la delegación de Colombia apoya otro de los aspectos de la polìtica del Director General, en el sentido de que a través de la acción de la FAO deberá buscarse la mejora de las condiciones de los pequeños agricultores.

En el capìtulo Producción Alimentaria, párrafo 18, nos complace registrar el aumento que se habìa logrado en algunos paìses de America Latina. Dentro del espìritu de solidaridad que une el Gobierno a todos los pueblos del Tercer Mundo nos preocupa la situación de Africa descrita en el párrafo 30 y pediraos que se intensifique la acción de la FAO en pro de todos los paìses de la region africana.

En cuanto a las perspectivas de 1977 leìmos con preocupación las que se hacen en los párrafos 24 a 29 pero conservamos la esperanza de que esas perspectivas mejoren. La Sección Consumo de Alimentos y Nutrición revela el párrafo 34 que en America Latina el valor energético de la ración alimenticia se ha mantenido en el 6 o el 7 por ciento por encima de las necesidades. Este es un indicio de la buena polìtica nutricional de los paìses de la region latinoamericana.

En Colombia, el Gobierno del Presidente Lopez Michelena ha adoptado como politica social y económica el plan nutricional de alimentación, en cuya deliberación se contó con la valiosa asistencia de la FAO.

La sección sobre los paìses mas gravemente afectados, a partir del párrafo 49, contiene datos que reve-lan las condiciones desfavorables de los 45 paìses catalogados en esas condiciones. Esto impone un esfuerzo mayor y la necesaria solidaridad en torno a estos paìses más gravemente afectados. Final-mente, sobre la ayuda alimentaria, nos complace que esa ayuda haya aumentado porque la consideramos necesaria en estos momentos aún de crisis, pero la delegación de Colombia considera que esta ayuda debe ser transitoria y que lo esencial es que la FAO asista a los paìses en desarrollo a que obtengan bases sólidas sobre las cuales asegurar el continuo crecimiento de la producción agrìcola.

A. DAS (India): The Indian delegation notes with satisfaction that the process of improvement in world food supplies which began in 1975 has continued and there has been distinct improvement in the immediate food situation in the world. We are particularly glad that during the last two years the developing countries have been able to expand their food production at an average rate of about 4 percent per annum. The longer term growth rate of food output in the developing countries has also improved since 1970 to an annual average of 2.6 percent.

Apart from favourable weather conditions, the accelerated developmental efforts put in by the developing countries, including the extended use of water, improved seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, have contributed to the increased output. This bears ample testimony to the fact that it is not the absence of the will of the people but the constraints on the availability of resources as well as on the supply of crucial inputs like fertilizers which prevented the developing countries from achieving a higher rate of growth of food production.

The recent improvment in the immediate world food situation should not, however, leave any room for complacency since the longer term growth rate of 2.6 percent of food output achieved in the developing countries still remains considerably below the minimum agricultural growth rate of 4 percent per annum stipulated by the World Food Conference. Besides, some of the most seriously affected countries have not shared in the increased harvests of the past two years.

It is obvious, therefore, that in the coming years world food security will continue to depend to a considerable extent on the ability of the developing countries to expand food production at a much higher rate. In this regard we very much appreciate the help already rendered by the donor countries and the international organizations, including FAO to the developing countries in stepping up their food-grain production, but the rate of assistance will have to be considerably stepped up to enable these countries to accelerate their pace of growth of output.

Against this background, the information furnished in the Secretariat document to the effect that the total developmental assistance for agriculture in the developing countries during 1976 is likely to decline as compared to the previous year, is rather disquieting and disconcerting and should be a cause for serious concern to the international community. In this context, the Indian delegation would wish to re-emphasize the urgency of increasing the flow of resources to agriculture in the developing countries to at least the level of $8 3 billion, per annum of which at least $6.5 billion should be in the shape of concessional assistance. Of course, this should be done in implementation of the 0.7 percent target of the official development assistance which was reconfirmed at the 7th Special Session of the General Assembly.

World food security is closely linked to the system of food reserves and the accessibility of those reserves to those countries which may be in need from time to time. However, it is disconcerting to note that even though a number of years have passed since the international undertaking on world food security was adopted by the international community, little progress has been made towards the establishment of an internationally coordinated system for the holding and management of food stocks.

It is imperative that all the countries, developed as well as developing, should participate and adopt methods to implement the Undertaking on World Food Security. The developing countries could participate in the system only if assisted in procuring supplies through food aid and flow of financial resources. Thus food aid is required not only for meeting the immediate requirements but also for aiding the developing countries to build up national reserves.

On the subject of food aid, the Secretariat's paper points out that the food aid shipments of cereals in 1975-76 and commitments for 1976-77 remain well below the minimum target of 10 million tons recommended by the World Food Conference. My delegation would like to reemphasize the need for fulfilling the target of food aid to help the developing countries in meeting their growing requirements. In fact, we would urge that the target of 10 million tons which was the minimum target, should be raised so as to help the developing countries in,firstly improving the nutritional standards of their people, who are at present suffering seriously from malnutrition; and secondly, in building up and maintenance of national reserves in the interest of improving food security. The Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes which has decided to review the targets should also be asked to keep these criteria in view in their analysis. In order to ensure continuity of food aid for food security purposes, my delegation would like to reemphasize that the new International Grains Agreement should, as in the past, provide for a Food Aid Convention. Apart from this, the new agreement should have provisions for reserve stocks, the earmarking of a part of this stock for meeting the requirements of the developing countries at reasonable prices during periods of crop failure and other appropriate safeguards for the developing countries.

There are a number of other important issues on which we would have liked to comment, such as forward planning in food aid, achievement of 500 thousand tons target under the International Emergency Reserve, etc. We shall come back to these matters under the relevant agenda items.

Before concluding, we cannot but reemphasize the need for the international community, especially in food exporting developed countries, to undertake immediate measures which would ensure international food security. I should therefore urge that the opportunity provided by the unique conditions which exist now in the accumulation of substantial grain stocks should be fully utilized to create a grain reserve this year which would ensure against a repetition of the disaster of 1972-74.

C.R. FRANK (United States of America): The United States delegation heartily commends the FAO Secretariat for its brief and informative review of the current state of food and agriculture. We are indeed encouraged that world food production increased again in 1976, that this increase was the largest since 1973 and that average annual growth from 1970 to 1976 exceeds the rate of population growth. We are also encouraged by the very large increase in the amount of cereal grains production and the growth of cereal stocks which had been seriously depleted. Let us not be complacent, however, because of recent hopeful trends in world food production. More and sustained growth in world food production is required if we are to avoid major world food shortages and a growing food deficit for the developing nations whose food needs are the most critical.

Let us also be mindful that increased food production is not the only important food objective. More food must find its way to the hungry and malnourished. Better storage, transport, trade and distribution facilities are essential if basic food needs are to be satisfied. National and international economic and social policies also determine whether hungry mouths are fed or not. The United States place special emphasis on the alleviation of hunger and malnutrition as part of a basic strategy for world wide development cooperation to satisfy basic human needs. Alleviation of hunger and malnutrition is a critical element of the economic and social rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which our country subscribes. In recent widely reported speeches President Carter, Secretary Vance and Ambassador Young have all stressed our commitment to economic and social rights in meeting basic human needs. This United States commitment will be an essential part of our future approach to all the development activities of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization.

In this connection we would welcome any information that FAO can supply concerning the impact of food production increases in raising the nutrition standards of the poor majority in the developing world. Meeting food and nutritional needs is a joint responsibility of national governements and the international community. External resources are indeed required to meet food needs In this connection the United States welcomes the prospective establishment of the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the positive results of the first Conference on International Economic Cooperation in calling for increased international cooperation in the field of food and agriculture.

External resources, however, must be matched by an acceleration of internal efforts both to provide more domestic resources and to overcome social and institutional obstacles to agriculture and rural development. Thus our delegation believes FAO could usefully provide information in its survey on investment trends in the agricultural sector.

Let me conclude be saying the United States strongly supports continuing FAO efforts to survey the world food situation and believes they are essential to an understanding of FAO's role in helping to expand world food production.

EL PRESIDENTE: El Delegado del Brasil, quien es Presidente del Grupo de los 77. me ha pedido la palabra para hacer una declaración.

B. de AZEVEDO BRITO (Chairman of the Group of 77) I am not going to speak as delegate of Brazil but as Chairman of the Group of 77 and I hope I may be allowed to take the floor later on this item specifically to give the comments for Brazil. Mr. President, distinguished delegates, I have been requested by the Group of 77 to convey to you its views on the main issues before the Council at the current session in the hope of providing an initial stimulus to our discussion. We will comment on specific items in more detail in the course of the deliberations as individual delegations. These observations are made in a spirit of mutual interest and cooperation.

Overall levels of food production, including production in developing countries, have increased substantially in the past two years; however, actual food supplies still vary greatly among countries and regions. There is food but not necessarily where it is needed and those in need do not necessarily have the resources to satisfy their food requirements. Moreover, food production still falls short of the goal of the 4 percent rate called for in the Second Development Decade a rate of growth which must be achieved if significant shortages are to be avoided and if actual progress is to be shared in improving the nutrition of the hundreds of millions that live in the developing world. With the improved food situation in cereal production there is, for the first time in a number of years, the possibility of building up adequately geographically located reserves and stocks that will caution us against a serious crop failure in the next season The international community now has the opportunity to build a system of reserve capable of responding in a rational manner to the objectives of world food security as called for in the World Food Conference. We sincerely hope that at this instance the Council will find it possible to urge the international community to build up an internationally coordinated system of national stocks on the basis of the minimum level of 17-18 percent of world grain consumption.

Though the overall prospects for food security have improved somewhat, we must also realize that thare has been an unusual degree of instability in the prices of commodities in the past two years. International efforts to expand markets and stabilize prices at levels remunerative to producers have not yet succeeded. This difficulty is confounded by the fact that a growing number of developing countries are facing balance of payment deficits of an unprecedented magnitude. While developing countries have been devoting an ever larger proportion of their internal resources to agricultural development and food production, we see with concern that the flows of external assistance, in particular official development assistance, have lagged far behind the targets of the Second Development Decade.

Within agriculture, after slight improvement in resource flows in 1974 and 1975, figures for 1976 unfortunately suggest stagnation. Thus it is with immediate food crisis temporarily averted, but with substantive problems looming ahead in many crucial areas that the activities of FAO must be reviewed, A number of important committees have met recently and the Council will be in a position to review their work. We believe that implementation of recommendations of the Committee on Forestry can provide a new impetus to forestry in the developing countries. We note with particular interest the emphasis on small-scale forestry operations and integration of forestry product projects include overall community development.

In the area of fisheries, a fresh look was given in the recent meeting of the Committee on Fisheries which has provided new insight on the manner in which developing countries can develop their fishing resources to better feed their populations. We would like to endorse the programmes directed to small-scale fishermen in view of the significant contributions this segment of the population can make in improving their own standard of living and increasing the food supplies of their countries. We believe that inland fisheries should be encouraged.

The emphasis on improved marketing, storage and processing to increase the amount of fish available for consumption also deserves our attention.

More important still, the Council now has the benefit of the overview of programmes given by the Committee on Agriculture which provides an excellent analysis of the programmes of the Organization.

In the deliberations of the Committee on Agriculture I would call the particular attention of the Council to two aspects, first the reduction of harvests and post-harvest losses and second the role of the small farmers in agricultural development. The proposal to establish a trust fund of $20 million to finance programmes and activities to reduce harvest and post harvest losses calls for an input of $10 million from resources accumulated in the suspense account of the present biennium as recommended by the Finance Committee. Developing countries fully support such a proposal and believe that it can have a very significant and immediate impact, both on increasing the availability of food in the Third World and of reducing dependancy on external food supplies. We also feel that the small farmer has an increasingly significant role to play in agricultural development. While we believe that agricultural development should be pursued through many approaches we are aware of the contributions that small farmers can make in providing a substantial increase in the production and availability of food. We welcome, therefore, the constructive suggestions made on the subject of small farmers during the recent Session of the Committee on Agriculture,

We hope that the forthcoming World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development will lead to a major improvement in rural welfare, inter alia by providing greater development support to small farmers.

In the area of rural development, we also support FAO's programme for the development of human resources, including training at the grass roots level and the promotion and integration of women in the development processes as participants as well as beneficiaries.

While the recent session of the Committee on Commodity Problems necessarily reflected the lack of basic agreement on the larger policy issues, it reflected both policy issues, which related both to the stabilization of the price of commodities and to the improvement of export earnings of developing countries, the Committee has done much useful work in imparting clear policy directives to the important intergovernmental bodies subordinate to it.

We very much hope that the International Guidelines on Meat will be implemented in full; that the Intergovernmental Group on Oilseeds, Oils and Fats will be in a position to develop a comprehensive set of guidelines for the sector so that the export interests of developing countries will be safeguarded; that the Intergovernmental Group on Rice will be in a position to report that the recommendations it adopted during its Nineteenth Session are adequately implemented. We hope, I said, that the encouraging progress towards an agreement on bananas will continue; that a comprehensive programme of action on tea will be successfully developed, and that the Ad Hoc Committee on Hides and Skins who meet next year in 1978 will be in a position to contribute substantively to the solution of the problems in this sector, especially those of market access of processed and semi-processed products for developing countries.

With regard to the overall situation of commodities of direct concern to FAO's activities, we cannot but express once more our dissatisfaction with the policies of some developed countries which, by pursuing self-sufficiency at very high cost, have increasingly resorted to import restrictions with serious negative consequences for the export earnings of the developing countries. We feel also compelled to register our concern for the increasing displacement of natural products - some of them of critical importance to developing countries - by synthetics and substitutes.

In this connection we would like to reiterate our position that, unless there are commodity agreements covering both the natural product and synthetics, it would be Utopian to maintain that producers could avoid additional market losses to synthetics merely by assuring continuity of supply at ''competitive'' prices.

Still in the purview of the report of the Committee on Commodity Problems, we would urge the Council to take favourable action on the proposal that, in the light of its expertise, the CCP be associated with the task of ensuring that food standards adopted in the Codex Alimentarius do in fact contribute to promoting fair trade practices in food trade and do not have harmful effects on the development of food industries and on the export trade of developing countries.

We understand that the Second Annual Report of the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes will be submitted to the Council. While we note with concern that the target for food aid of ten million tons of grain per year has still not been reached, that the International Food Emergency Reserve did not, thus far, reach even fifty percent of its target of 500 000 tons, and that the food aid policies recommended by the World Food Conference have as yet received only superficial attention on the part of most donor countries, we are nevertheless satisfied with the vitality of the operations of the World Food Programme itself. Of particular importance is the renewed emphasis by WFP on development projects now possible through the increased resources available to the Programme and the improvement in the world food supply situation. We strongly urge WFP to expand its purchases in developing countries as a means to stimulate food production in these countries. We concur with the priorities accorded by WFP to the least developed and most seriously affected countries and, at the same time, wish to welcome, in particular, the prompt response of WFP to the requests of newly independent countries, of nations emerging from war, and of liberation movements. We sincerely hope that an agreement will be reached on the proposed pledging target of $ 950 million for the 1979-80 biennium. We feel that the technical cooperation and investment activities within FAO, the future operations of the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme must be seen as complementary efforts geared to remove the fear of hunger from present and future generations.

It is on the basis of the substantive analysis made by its subsidiary bodies, the recommendations of the regional conferences and the policies it adopted at its 69th Session that the Council should assess the Programme and Budget proposals submitted by the Director-General. We hope our deliberations on these important matters will provide guidance to the Conference and will have a significant bearing on the future of our Organization. We understand that both the Programme and Finance Committees have concurred with the specific proposals and policies of the Director-General on the Programme of Work and Budget. On our part, we would like to put on record our general agreement with the trends and priorities reflected in these proposals. In the context of the renewed attention to agricultural development and food production since the World Food Conference, it is right and proper in our view that FAO assume a greater role in evolving the conceptual analysis, planning the strategies required to expand production and provide better nutrition for the growing world population, and designing field operations in line with the needs of the developing countries.

We note that the proposed budget calls for only a very modest increase of resources beyond what is required to cover inflation. We support the emphasis on de-bureaucratization that saves resources for practical action, on a decentralization that assists the real transfer of activities to the country level, and on technical cooperation activities specifically oriented to promote investment and encourage production. We believe that the Technical Cooperation Programme of FAO as well as the policies emphasizing the use of national institutions represent practical effective means to fulfill these goals. In establishing TCP the Council has responded to a long-felt need of developing countries to be able to find a quick and effective response from FAO to their requests for technical assistance. As a matter of principle, developing countries feel that technical cooperation, as one of many forms of international cooperation must, as foreseen in the Constitution of FAO and as practised in the other organizations of the United Nations system, continue to be based, at least in part, on assessed contributions and, therefore, must constitute a separate chapter of the budget of the Organization. We reject the concept of assistance purely on the basis of voluntary contributions, for we believe that assistance to provide greater equality and justice is an established and undeniable right. At the same time, we strongly feel that in implementing programmes, in providing assistance and in replying on national institutions FAO can play a very significant role in promoting cooperation among developing countries. Efforts of the Organization in this direction have our fullest support.

During the next biennium the strategies for international cooperation for development in the 1980s will emerge. We look forward also to the analysis and projections of FAO on the future of agriculture in the year 2000 and fully support collaboration with UNCTAD and system-wide activities regarding the further development and implementation of the New International Economic Order. Finally, we would like to emphasize the need for support to developing countries in agricultural research, planning and data collection.

With regard to Constitutional matters, we believe that it is imperative to enlarge the Council in order to ensure equitable representation. We also believe that the accrued responsibilities of the Programme and Finance Committees, as well as the increasing complexity of the activities of FAO, call for the enlargement of these Committees. In relation to the election and tenure of the Director-General by the Conference, it is our feeling that Governments should be allowed to express their choice without any limitations. We concur with the principle of re-eligibility of the Executive Head of the Organization. In doing so, our basic aim is to ensure free and ample choice to governments and to avoid any harmful effect on the developments of the policies and programmes of the Organization. We feel that in this instance the responsibility of the Council for the future of the Organization is probably greater than ever. We feel strongly that it is the duty of the Council to contribute in a positive and affirmative manner to bring about the New International Economic Order in the field of agricultural development, food production and nutrition.

I thank you, Mr. President, for allowing me to make this statement in the name of the Group of 77.

I.A. IMTIAZI (Pakistan): My delegation has read document CL 71/2 with great interest and takes this opportunity of congratulating the Secretariat on attempting to present a realistic assessment of the world food situation and outlook. We are encouraged to note that the world food situation is not as grave as it has been in the recent past. However, this should not lead us to a sense of complacency.

As has been rightly pointed out by the Secretariat, much of the improvement in 1975/76 was due to largely favourable weather conditions, and it would be highly unwise to rely upon the continued clemency of weather. Thus, this important factor should always be borne in mind in assessing the present food situation. My delegation is therefore constrained to point out that the improvement in the short-term outlook is fragile, and what is even more important, the outlook for the medium and long term in developing countries is still a matter of considerable concern. Food production has increased on an average of around 2.6 percent a year during the first half of the present decade, which unfortunately is below the annual rate of population growth in many developing countries and far below the accepted target of 4 percent.

Regrettably, the long-run production trend continues to remain inadequate, and progress towards the agreed objectives of the World Food Conference has been almost non-existent. The problem therefore before us is far from solution, and although we do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead of us, we must confront it with determination and earnestness.

Again I feel constrained to point out that the improvement in the world food situation has been regional rather than global. Only recently, at the meeting of the Committee on World Food Security and the Committee on Agriculture,it was pointed out by many delegations that the food situation is still a matter of grave concern in their countries. Africa still remains an area of major concern where the annual rate of change has not kept pace with the other regions.

Another disturbing feature of the existing situation relates to the share of the developing countries in world trade and agricultural products, which has shown no signs of improvement, with the result that there has been a substantial fall in their agricultural export earnings. Recent upward trends in the prices of some of the agricultural commodities exported by developing countries has been more than offset by the rise in the prices of inputs, resulting in a net decline in the purchasing power of the developing countries. Relative abundance in world market is meaningless unless the developing countries are provided with opportunities to earn adequate income to buy their own requirements. There is still a substantial gap between commitments and requirements estimated at the time of the World Food Conference.

We have now been talking for over two and a half years, but so far food aid commitments have not attained the target of at least ten million tons per year as envisaged in the World Food Conference Resolution, nor have we been able to establish any emergency reserve stocks. Total fertilizer aid to be made available to the most seriously affected countries during the year under review is still below the target of one million tons. Regrettably, progress towards the agreed objectives of world food security has been slow and reserve stocks are still inadequate. The balance of payments situation of the most seriously affected countries still requires continued financing for it and fertilizer assistance during the coming year.

We are therefore concerned to note from the secretariat document that external resources for agricultural production are slackening off. There is also need for a speedy conclusion to the international discussions and negotiations on the International Grains Agreement before the expiry of the current extension of the International Grains Agreement. The concern expressed by the Secretariat in paragraph 41 of CL 71/2 regarding the possible ill effects of accumulation of stocks also deserves immediate attention.

Finally, my delegation would like to express concern over what has been stated in paragraphs 55 to 57 of document CL 71/2 regarding development assistance. The Secretariat's effort to present a balanced approach on a very real issue, namely, the fall in the total development assistance to agriculture, seems to have been clouded. The need of the hour is greater and bolder initiatives, and accordingly my delegation would place before this meeting for consideration the following proposals: one, immediate implementation of the objectives of world food security, particularly as the existing stock levels provide a unique opportunity; two, continuation of the external development assistance, both multilateral and bilateral, on concessional terms. The trend whereby the terms of assistance have been hardening must be reversed.

LI YUNG-KAI (China) (interpretation from Chinese): We see that many Council documents have referred to the prospects for world food and agricultural production for the current year. As this is a question of common interest, the Chinese delegation would like to make a few comments in the light of the agricultural situation in China.

In late December 1976, the Second National Conference on Learning from Tachai in Agriculture was held in our country. By summing up the experience gained in the previous year in the movement to learn from Tachai in agriculture and putting forward targets and tasks for the future, this Conference has inspired China's seven hundred million peasants with a new confidence in gaining a good harvest this year and given a great impetus to the movement to build Tachai-type countries, which has surged to a new high tide throughout China's rural areas in a short time. Under the wise leadership of Chairman Hua, the hundreds of millions of our people have plunged into action to eliminate the interference and sabotage done by the anti-Party ''Gang of Four" in agricultural production over the years and carry on a stubborn struggle against serious natural calamities. People from all walks of life are doing their best to support agriculture. As a result, an excellent flourishing situation has emerged in China's agricultural production.

China's agriculture is often hit by natural disasters along its path of development. Since last autumn, many parts of China have suffered from low temperatures, drought and other unfavourable weather conditions. In numerous localities, there was no rain or snow for more than six months. All this caused considerable difficulties for the growth of over-wintering crops, spring plowing and sowing, and livestock breeding.

Paying great attention to this situation, we made tremendous efforts to overcome these hardships. People throughout the country were mobilized on an emergency basis to unfold a vast mass movement to fight /?/ In many places, full advantages were taken of farmland construction and irrigation facilities built over the years. Although the acreage under over-wintering crops had been expanded as compared with the year before, the crops were watered in time in practically all fields with irrigation facilities. Rivers were dammed up, ditches dug and wells sunk so that all surface and underground water resources were tapped to do spring sowing and transplanting in time. Sometimes people would climb over mountains to fetch water or carry manure in buckets to fields severely hit by drought. In other words, our people are trying in every way possible to save the seedlings and reduce or prevent any loss in the output. Such endeavours have yielded striking results.

We are happy to note that in recent years, quite a number of developing countries have adopted the policy of giving priority to agricultural development as well as many measures aimed at increasing food production so as to consolidate their political independence and prevent super-power blackmail by means of food. This has led to expanded food production generally. It has led to basic self-sufficiency for some developing countries and surplus grain exports for a few. We are confident that where there is a will there is a way. It is always through struggle that man makes his progress forward. As long as we rely on the strength of the broad masses of the people, follow correct policies, mobilise all positive factors, and are willing to work hard, the prospects are indeed bright for the agricultural production of the developing countries.

SRA. I.di GIOVAN de SUAREZ (Argentina): El documento CL 71/2 es una sìntesis ilustrativa de la situacion alinientaria mundial; él mismo pone de relieve un apreciable aumento de la producción de alimentos en los paìses en desarrollo, particularmente en America Latina, como señala el párrafo 18 del documento citado. Con referenda a este párrafo, en el cual no se menciona a mi páis, probablemente porque recién en abril se han comprobado las cifras de la campaña 1976/77, mi delegación desea hacer constancia del importante incremento de la producción agropecuaria argentina durante los últimos doce meses.

No deseo aburrirles con cifras, particularmente debido a lo avanzado de la sesión, pero permìtaseme puntualizar que en los últimos doce meses la disponibilidad de productos alimentarios ha aumentado en 12,8 por ciento. Este incremento se descompone en un aumento estimado de cerca del 20 por ciento para la producción agrìcola y un 4 por ciento para la producción pecuaria. Se trata de un aumento importante con pocos antecedentes históricos en mi paìs y en el caso de producción agropecuaria es el mas alto registrado en los últimos años. Este aumento debe imputarse tanto al aumento del area sembrada como al aumento de objetivos. Pero debe imputarse esencialmente a la decision del gobierno argentino de estimular la producción agropecuaria, a pesar de ciertas perspectivas negativas en el mercado de productos básicos, y extremadamente desalentadoras para los paìses en desarrollo que, como el mìo, son productores eficientes de alimentos. En el sistema álgido puede ser la secuela a esas perspectivas desalentadoras del mercado de productos básicos a quien se ha referido el vocero del Grupo de los 77.

Sin embargo, al aumentar su producción agropecuaria mi paìs cree haber contribuido positivamente al mejoramiento mundial de las disponibilidades de alimentos. En tanto, cree haber contribuido a la obtención de un implemento valioso a las existencias de cereales, que significa un mayor grado de seguridad alimentaria para toda la comunidad internacional. Asimismo esta actuación ha permitido que mi paìs esté en condiciones de cumplir con todos los compromisos adquiridos en materia de ayuda alimentaria.

Deseo manifestar nuestra aspiración en el sentido de que esta recuperación registrada en el año 1976, comienzos de 1977 que es un reflejo de lo que ha señalado el señor Walton, sea proyectada en un enfoque a largo plazo que involucre todas las metas que son necesarias para un aumento sostenido de la produccion alimentaria mundial. Para esto es preciso que los datos contenidos en el documento permitan encontrar a los paìses en desarrollo las metas fijadas por el Segundo Decenio de Desarrollo de las Naciones Unidas.

finalmente, daseo señalar la urgencia ya indicada por otras delegaciones en el sentido de que la coyuntura favorable registrada en la actualidad sea aprovechada en la implementación de los objetivos establecidos por la Conferencia Mundial de la Alimentación y la FAO en materia de seguridad alimentaria, suministro de alimentos, mercado de productos básicos y desarrollo rural.

N. RAHUMA (Libya) (Interpretation from Arabic): I would like to express our satisfaction with the improvement of the world food situation.

I would like to take this opportunity to refer to a problem which has to be faced by my country and some other countries in the region. In spite of the growth in certain development fields, especially in agriculture, which bring us closer to self-sufficiency and has provided more surpluses for export to cover world need, we have to face a special problem, which is the mines which have been laid during the world wars. These represent a danger and have been the cause of several deaths in our countries.

We would therefore like to ask the International Community to help us in our efforts to get those countries which are responsible for the placing of mines in our soil to help us to remove them.

G. TZITZICOSTAS (Gréce): La delegation de Gréce desire tout d'abord adresser ses felicitations á M. le Directeur general pour l'excellente allocution d'ouverture dans laquelle il a présenté la situation mondiale actuelle de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture. Il a trés clairement souligné les progres obtenus, et il a surtout dressé un ample tableau des actions que nous devons entreprendre pour assurer la sécurité alimentaire, la production alimentaire et le développement rural en general.

Il a aussi traité avec son objectivité coutumiére le bilan des réformes introduites dans notre Organisa tion qui ont vraiment change la physionomie de la FAO, comme il l'a lui-même souligné ce matin.

La situation mondiale de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture s'est nettement améliorée cette année, bien que les tendances a long terme restent un peu instables. La production a enregistré une forte expansion en 1976, et les perspectives de récolte pour cette année sont en general bonnes. Les prix des produits alimentaires ont eu une tendance a la detente. La consommation alimentaire dans les pays en développement a enregistré une nette reprise. Les stocks céréaliers mondiaux ont atteint un niveau trés satisfaisant par rapport au faible niveau du passé. Enfin, il parait que le volume de l'aide internationale au développement dont dispose l'agriculture dans les pays en développement a connu une expansion encourageante, et la production alimentaire mondiale, selon les indices de la FAO, a augmenté de 3 pour cent.

Dans ce cadre en general optimiste et rassurant de la situation mondiale, la nouvelle reorientation de l'action de la FAO entreprise depuis déjá plus d'une année sur l'initiative trés heureuse du Directeur general renforce nos espoirs pour l'avenir. En effet, cette reorientation doit assurer aux Etats Membres un soutien plus efficace pour améliorer la production et la productivité alimentaires. C'est pourquoi nous nous félicitons du fait que le Directeur general, M. Saouma, ait assigné de nouvelles priorités á l'action de l'Organisation, notamment en ce qui concerne les activités d'investissement et la formation au niveau pratique.

Egalement, l'institution du programme de la cooperation technique constitue une nouvelle approche, grace á laquelle la FAO peut fournir une aide directe au développement. Naturellement, notre delegation appuie vivement la realisation de ce programme. D'autre part, la nomination de répresentants de la FAO dans les pays intéressés manifeste un esprit pratique de decentralisation de ses activités du Siége vers les pays membres.

Néanmoins, permettez-moi de faire quelques remarques.

Les récoltes de 1976 ont permis d'obtenir une premiere amelioration des disponibilités en denrées de base, telles que les céréales, le riz et le sucre, et un certain rélevement de stocks de report. Ces progrés s'accentuent, paraìt-il, en 1977, puisque fort heureusement les résultats décevants enregistrés en Europe occidentale du fait de la sécheresse ont été plus que compensés par des progrés dans d'autres regions du monde. C'est ainsi que les données les plus récentes recueillies par le Conseil international du blé confirment que la production du blé a dépassé de cinq pour cent les récoltes précedentes de l'année 1976. Cela va assurer une sécurite d'approvisionnement supérieure á celle du debut des années soixante-dix.

Néanmoins, la croissance de la position alimentaire au cours de la précédente décennie reste trés en decá de l'objectif fixe dans la stratégie internationale pour le développement et réaffirmé par la Conference mondiale de ]'alimentation. Pour autant, des efforts pour organiser la sécurité alimentaire sont absolument nécessaires, tant au niveau national qu'au niveau international. Au niveau national, the priorité doit être attribuée surtout par les pays en développement aux politiques et aux programmes nationaux. Cette priorité doit viser á atteindre complétement les objectifs de la sécurité alimentaire, organiser plus efficacement les marches intérieurs, assurer des debouches réguliers aux producteurs agri-coles et enfin stimuler la production alimentaire.

Au plan international, les institutions internationales des pays développés et autres pays donateurs potentiels doivent accroitre l'assistance financiére ainsi que leur aide technique dans le contexte des objectifs de développement. A cet égard, tous les pays doivent profiter des discussions et des négo-ciations en cours pour mettre en oeuvre et concerter a l'échelon international leurs politiques natio-nales de stockage, ainsi qu'augmenter les stocks nationaux dés que la situation économique et celle des approvisionnements le permettront.

Les propositions formulées par l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies lors de ses sixiéme et septiéme sessions extraordinaires en vue d'instaurer un nouvel ordre économique international représentent le plus notable des faits nouveaux. L'aspiration vers un nouvel ordre économique mondial juste et equitable aura d'importantes incidences sur l'agriculture. Pour réaliser les objectifs du nouvel ordre économique international et notamment pour réduire environ de moitié l'écart de revenu par habitant entre pays développés et pays en développement, il faudrait remonter d'á peu prés 5 pour cent par an la production agricole des pays en développement. C'est lá un but difficile a atteindre si on le compare aux 2,5 pour cent par an des années soixante et soixante-quinze avec le 4 pour cent qui est l'objectif de croissance agricole fixe par les Nations Unies pour le développement.

D'autre part, il est a signaler que les efforts entrepris pour améliorer la situation alimentaire des pays en développement dans le cadre du nouvel ordre économique international ne doivent pas être limités seulement aux pays arriérés; nous croyons en effet qu'il faut stimuler également l'amélioration de la production agricole des pays qui sont un peu plus avancés dans ce domaine et dont l'agriculture présente des conditions de démarrage plus avantageuses, moins coûteuses et plus aptes aux progrés techniques qui doivent y être appliques. Ainsi assistés, ces pays seraient dans le plus bref délai mieux á même de contribuer davantage au programme de la FAO. La cooperation économique étroite et plus efficace entre pays en développement est indispensable pour aboutir á des résultats satisfaisants dans le domaine agricole et ceci au-dessus de l'aide intemationale bilatérale ou multilatérale. Il faut créer des programmes régionaux de cooperation et d'intégration économiques qui facilitent le mouvement des marchan-dises et des personnes. Il faut aussi s'efforcer d'identifier les échanges et l'assistance technique entre ces pays.

Je me permets de vous rappeler encore une fois que dans le cadre de ces initiatives, il faudrait aussi porter attention aux pays qui se trouvent á mi-chemin, dont le développement est déjá démarré mais qui n'ont pas encore atteint le niveau des pays développés. Les techniques modernes constituent un des principaux moyens de rendre l'agriculture plus productive; nous avons en vue notamment l'irrigation, les engrais, les pesticides, les semences de variétés améliorées, etc. Dans le même cadre, doivent être accomplis des efforts pour la formation et l'éducation á tous les niveaux. La formation et l'éducation doivent être a la base de tout effort de développement; qu'il s'agisse d'un programme entiérement national ou bénéficiant d'une aide intemationale, la formation doit être orientée vers l'action, qu'elle s'adresse aux exploitants, aux techniciens, aux cadres ou aux administrateurs. L'assistance Internationale, et surtout celle de la FAO, a un grand role á jouer dans l'organisation des échanges, dans la formation. et dans la mise au point des techniques appropriées. C'est un domaine trés important qui doit attirer l'attention du Conseil.

Je voudrais vous dire aussi que la delegation de la Gréce porte un grand intérêt au probléme de la reduction des pertes aprés récolte. Les pertes aprés récolte, qui atteignent parfois jusqu'á 20 pour cent de la récolte elle-même, sont incompatibles avec la lutte contre la faim et la malnutrition. Les mesures pour réduire ces pertes au minimum présentent un apport trés important pour améliorer la situation alimentaire mondiale. Nous souhaitons que l'étude entreprise par la FAO á ce sujet soit activement poursuivie. En effet, c'est une question trés difficile dont les données techniques doivent aussi être replacées dans un large contexte social et quelquefois aussi politique; mais, de toute fason, tous les pays développés doivent apporter le concours de leurs chercheurs et de leurs experts pour réaliser des progrés substantiels dans ce domaine. Il faut aussi contribuer étroitement aux entreprises de stockage, de transformation ou de conservation des denrées alimentaires dans les pays qui en ont encore besoin.

Il faut que le Conseil:

1) Définisse tous les aspects du probléme;

2) Décrive les objectifs et les principaux éléments des actions á mener par la FAO et par d'autres organisations;

3) Indique les ressources nécessaires et celles déjá engagées, non pas isolément mais dans le cadre des efforts entrepris pour limiter aussi les pertes avant et durant la récolte.

Avant de terminer, deux mots sur notre politique agricole: la Gréce fait des efforts intensifs pour le développement de son économie et en particulier pour l'économie agricole. Certaines difficultés, accentuées en raison de la crise internationale et de la sécheresse, ont affecté la production dont le rythme de croissance a été un peu inférieur aux prévisions. Notre probléme est de faire face a l'ajus-tement de l'offre et de la demande et á la realisation des rythmes satisfaisants du développement agricole.

Nous continuons la politique d'amélioration de la productivité agricole, surtout par l'approvisionnement des exploitants agricoles en moyens de production ainsi que pour la promotion de la recherche agricole. En ce qui concerne plus particuliérement les produits, notre politique vise a l'augmentation de la production de certains d'entre eux pour lesquels nous sommes déficitaires, a la création de stocks régu-lateurs et de . sécurité et á l'expansion de certains produits ayant des perspectives favorables á l'exportation.

Simultanément, des mesures institutionnelles sont prises pour la restructuration fonciére, la promotion du mouvement coopératif et pour l'amélioration des structures commerciales, etc. Dans tous ces sec-teurs, nous suivons les lignes directrices élaborées par la FAO et nous comptons sur l'aide technique et matérielle utilisée dans certains de ses programmes.

EL PRESIDENTE: Señores, hemos sobrepasado ya el tiempo previsto. Todavìa hay tres oradores en turno, mas el señor Walton, que seguramente querrá referirse a las observaciones planteadas por los miembros del Consejo. Tal vez conviene en este primer dìa de nuestra reunion que levantemos ahora la sesión de esta tarde para continuarla mañana con el Tema 4, para el cual están en turno los siguientes oradores: Indonesia, Mexico y Brasil.

Si no hay ningún comentario por parte de los miembros del Consejo levantaremos la sesión y nos reuniremos manaña a las 9,30 boras.

The meeting rose at 17.40 hours.
La seance est levée á 17 h 40.
Se levanta la sesión a las 17.40 horas.

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