CHAIRMAN: We will resume our discussion on item 4 of the agenda. I would request the speakers to be brief so that we can complete this item today.
AMIDJONO MARTOSUWIRYO (Indonesia): First I would like to congratulate the Director-General on hïs excellent statement made yesterday in this room, and to thank Dr. Nurul Islam for his excellent introduction to this paper under discussion.
While recognizing the fact that food production in 1981 increased by 2.9 percent and that cereal stocks in 1982 are reasonably satisfactory, there is nevertheless no valid reason for optimism in respect of general food conditions throughout the world. The reason is that the figures presented in the document are world total enhanced and do not depict the real food situation in the larger part of the world which is home to the majority of the world population. As a matter of fact, the bulk of food production is located in a small number of advanced countries which in one way or another are able to play a significant role in the solution at least partly of the longstanding problem of hunger and malnutrition in many countries and regions in the world.
The global situation, however, presents a gloomy picture. There seem to be more problems today which preoccupy both developed and developing countries. As clearly stated on page 1 of this document under discussion, international cooperation for development in 1982 is at one of its bleakest periods due to recession, inflation, unemployment, monetary and exchange rate instability and rising trade protectionism. To this unfortunate fact should be added man-made disasters which continue to cause damage to food storages and hamper the growing of food crops. This is a situation which should be deplored.
Speaking in terms of reality, it should be recognized that in the present world economic situation the developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, are worse off. The increase in the number of early deceased has justified this statement. Conditions vary from country to country depending on the availability of natural resources, the climatic conditions, the scale of people concerned, so that there are many degrees of under-development, poverty, hunger and malnutrition which have been existing among hundreds of millions of people in the developing countries of the world.
There is no doubt that the developed countries too have their own problems. The nature of their problems, however, is different. While developing countries, or many among them, have problems of food shortages or cannot produce their staple food in sufficient quantities, several among the developed countries have the problem of overproduction of various kinds of food to such an extent that they have problems in selling their produce in the world market. Under such circumstances the countries concerned are confronted with the prospect of less income, which is quite different from the problem of having no food at all.
In this connection it is worthy to note that at the same time many developing countries who are in need of food are too poor or do not have sufficient means to buy food which is already available. In order to cope with this problem of falling prices certain countries have embarked on programmes of reducing acreage on a voluntary basis.
The document before us deals also with a wide variety of efforts being made by developing countries to increase food and agricultural production and elevate the nutritional standard of their life.
It is of course the responsibility of individual developing countries to increase food and agricultural production while others provide assistance. Although there are various degrees of development it can be said that in many cases it is more a matter of devising basic policies, programmes, infrastructure and technology related to land and water use and supply and distribution of farm inputs. At the same time a farming system should be introduced or implemented that absorbs the rural labour force and improves the incomes of the groups concerned. The use of improved seed, the application of the right fertilizers in adequate quantities, improvement of irrigation works, should be regarded as essential in the development of food production in most developing countries. The findings of agricultural research which are of practical value should be transferred to the rural people who actually do the farming. Cooperation among the research stations of countries with common physical and climatic conditions should be strengthened in order to accelerate the process of the transfer of technology. Investment of this programme should be implemented on the largest scale possible, and the same applies to the effort to reduce the damage to the crops caused by pests and diseases. By the application of these measures on a national scale, substantially larger harvests can be obtained from the same acreage of land. Moreover all possible effort should be made to reduce post-harvest losses arising from improper handling, and processing and storage. Effort of the last-named measures should not be undervalued, since a proportion ranging from 12 to 20 percent could be saved if efforts were made efficiently to the reduction of losses.
Food security is of vital importance to every country. As far as Indonesia is concerned, increasing food production is aimed at both achieving self-sufficiency and developing ability to build up enoughnational food reserves. Since 1978, rice production in Indonesia has risen by 36 percent on an average of 7.2 percent per annum, even though the government is trying further to increase food production, bearing in mind the large increase in the number of the population every year. I should like to inform the Council that according to the census carried out in 1980, the Indonesian population is about 147 million now; it may reach 150 million people.
After having dealt with the problem of food production in developing countries, allow me to say that in order to eliminate world hunger and malnutrition, all countries should cooperate in matters pertaining to food and agriculture. This ideal is not new. To what extent it has been materialized is not easy to assess. While recognizing the merit of what has been achieved in the past, my delegation is of the opinion that much more should be done from now on in the field of international cooperation, in the field of agriculture and food, in food production and in the field of agricultural products. My delegation feels that the developed countries could do more to assist the less fortunate countries in the world in their effort to free themselves from hunger and malnutrition. In the spirit of international cooperation and still by humanitarian considerations, advanced countries, fortunate countries are expected to channel larger contributions to the existing international bodies, which would then be placed in a better position to utilize the accumulated resources according to the needs of the various developing countries. This is a matter of political will, however, a matter to be dealt with by the most competent authorities of the countries concerned.
A.G. NGONGI NAMANGA (Cameroon): Since this is the first time my delegation is taking the floor, I wish to express how happy we are, Mr. Chairman, to see you in the Chair and also wish to extend our congratulations to the Vice-Chairmen who have been elected to assist you. I wish also to express my gratitude to the Ambassador of Congo who proposed me and to the Council for electing me to chair the Drafting Committee. I can only promise that with the support of the other members of the Committee, I shall be able to justify the honour you have bestowed upon me, my delegation, and upon my country.
Regarding the documents before us, CL 82/2 and CL 82/2 Sup.1, I navel just a few comments to make, because I think Professor Islam has made an excellent introduction and the Director-General in his opening statement yesterday touched upon the vital issues which are placed before us today.
First of all, my delegation is happy to note that food production increased globally by 2.9 percent in 1981 and that there are enough stocks around the world for those who can afford to buy. I say for those who can afford to buy because the stocks are not evenly distributed; they are concentrated in a few countries and many of the developing countries are having serious financial difficulties owing to the problems of the deteriorating terms of trade for their agricultural products.
I am sorry that my delegation, while rejoicing in the greatly improved food production conditions in the world, has its enthusiasm dampened by the fact that in some parts of the world, particularly Africa, food production per capita continued its backward march or backward retreat, or whatever it can be called, which can be traced to the early 70s, especially when we had devastating drought conditions in Africa. As has become customary, we have a litany of African countries suffering from food shortages. Although some of the shortages are imposed by man-made conflicts which have led to the displacement of a large number of persons, the overall deteriorating food situation in Africa is a result of a deteriorating environment and the absence of adequate infrastructures, resources and technology which could enable Africa to overcome its environmental difficulties.
I think a lot of the time undue emphasis is placed on the temporary, human-caused problems, while actually the long-term problems of Africa are a deteriorating situation and the environmental conditions.
Rather than speaking in general terms, let us look at the document that is placed before us, that is CL 82/2. In paragraph 19, we see that the per capita production in Africa and the Near East
declined in the last several years. In paragraph 22, we see the longer-term perspective, particularly for Africa, is rather serious. Let us refer to the tables. Tables 1,2 and 4 brinlg out I think, the picture very graphically. Let us look at Table 2. Table 2 shows that, using 1969 to 1971 as 100 percent base year, Africa in 1979 had 89 percent of production; for 1980, 90 percent; for 1981, 90 percent. I do not think there is much rejoicing which one can do about that. In Table 4 we see the calorie requirements that apply for these countries. In Africa it went from 95.5 percent in 1969-71 to 94 percent in 1980. I guess in percentage tetms, 6 percent shortfall might not look so drastic, but when we know that in many of those countries, as in any country around the world, it is the poorest of the poor who suffer from any shortfall in production. A 6 percent shortfall in production would mean that for the poorest of the poor it might be probably 30 percent shortfall in their calorie intakes, and that I think is what should concern the Council.
Paragraph 41, gives the usual litany again: This year there are 23 countries which are suffering from food shortages. Last year, if I remember well, as Kenya pointed out, I think there were 31; next year we can only guess since this year it is 23, last year 31; maybe next year it will go to 40. A large part of all these countries, of course, are in Africa.
On emergency, my delegation cannot over-emphasize the importance of the International Emergency Food Reserve and the need to have these resources placed on an adequate and reliable level. Many proposals have been made in this regard and I do hope that the Council in due course will come up with some final and definite conclusions on strengthening the International Emergency Food Reserve, because food shortages which are due to natural and manmade causes are not likely to disappear in the near future. I think they will be with us for some time.
A major section of the document is devoted to resource availability and the means of increasing food production. The document shows that Africa has a relatively abundant plant resource which could be further developed, that land productivity is lowest in Africa, that the use of modern inputs is very low indeed on the African continent, that irrigation is least developed in Africa. Indeed, this document contains enough elements on the agricultural situation in the least developed region, the region needing greatest assistance from the international community to justify a section giving an indication of what the Organization proposes to do or some recommendations placed before the Council so that we could have some directions on future actions.
My delegation regrets that in the light of the serious food situation in Africa and other developing countries, the flow of external resources from the international community has tended to stagnate, indeed declined in real terms. There are of course some isolated actions being taken by some countries, especially the recent Italian initiative to aid countries of the Sahelian sub-region, but was it not just last year that this same Council applauded the Paris Conference on the least developed countries? If I am not mistaken, I think so. I looked with great enthusiasm to the outcome of that Conference. What has come of it so far? I think I also remember that this Council also rejoiced about the Cancun meetings. I do remember that a lot of statements have been made in international fora about aid to the suffering regions of the world, especially Africa. This brings me to the conclusion that any form of international assistance should be within the framework of a well worked out program with an executing mechanism-established international organization. I think all of us here would know where such an action should be coordinated -which would allow good coordination of all the diverse international activity. No-one is saying that bilateral action should be replaced, but I think when in international fora, major countries make commitments, I think there should be some well thought out or well structured mechanism for implementing these various resolutions and various commitments into appropriate actions. My delegation therefore supports the conclusion made by Kenya that this document is a little incomplete and that it could have been more complete if it elaborated a little bit more on the kind of mechanism or the kind of programmes which could be elaborated to take care of the immediate problems of the suffering parts of the developing world, because clearly, as was stressed by Romania, and which was elaborated again by Portugal, I think there is clear need for some action to be taken instead of trying to avoid the problems which exist. I think if we continue to do this till doomsday, we shall all continue to say how serious the food situation around the world is without actually taking immediate action. In short, I would have wished there to be a section calling for a recommendation by the Council so that this Council could have made a firm recommendation commending the Director-General for his active efforts and asking him to carry out a definite programme which would be aimed at solving the serious problems in Africa.
LE DIRECTEUR GENERAL : Si j'interviens à ce moment de la discussion, c'est pour donner quelques éclaircissements.
Le document qui est en ce moment discute par le Conseil est un document descriptif. Il décrit la situation mondiale de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture. Ce n'est pas un document destiné à concevoir des programmes et des projets et à les discuter. Il donne des informations sur les intrants agricoles, qui sont très importants pour la production, sur la variation des prix; il évoque aussi le commerce agricole des pays développés et des pays en développement.
Le contenu de ce document a été décidé par le Conseil. Il nous a été suggéré ce matin et cet après-midi d'en faire un document qui serait non seulement descriptif mais qui proposerait des programmes. Ce serait vraiment en changer la nature. Evidemment le Conseil est souverain pour en décider. Pendant des années nous avons discuté à plusieurs reprises du contenu de ce document et telle a été la forme définitive qui a été arrêtée.
Je suis tout à fait d'accord avec les représentants du Cameroun et du Kenya. Il faut accorder dans nos programmes une attention encore plus grande à l’agriculture africaine, surtout dans les pays à déficit alimentaire chronique. C'est d'ailleurs à la demande du distingué délégué du Cameroun que nous allons soumettre à la prochaine session du Comité d'aide alimentaire un document à ce sujet.
Comme je l'ai indiqué à plusieurs reprises, plus de 40 pour cent des crédits du programme ordinaire sont consacrés à l'Afrique. Je compte bien, dans le prochain programme de travail et de budget, conserver cette priorité qui convient aussi à plusieurs pays développés. En effet, ces derniers accordent eux-mêmes une priorité élevée à l'Afrique dans leurs programmes bilatéraux.
Je retiens donc les recommandations de MM. les délégués du Kenya et du Cameroun. Cependant, elles trouveront leur place non pas dans ce document mais dans le programme de travail et de budget. C'est là le lieu où on peut traiter des programmes.
Par ailleurs, je fais remarquer que le document sur la situation mondiale vient d'être publié. Il n'est pas discuté ici mais il est extrêmement intéressant. J'en recommande la lecture car il contient énormément d'informations et peut servir de source de référence sur plusieurs sujets.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for this useful intervention about the nature of the document which has been provided.
S. HASAN AHMAD (Bangladesh): Since for me also this is the first occasion on which I have been given the floor after Ambassador Arosemena of Panama and Mr. Grabisch of the Federal Republic of Germany were elected, as two Vice-Chairmen out of three for the Council, may I utilise it to offer them my compliments on their election? I also offer my compliments to Mr. Namanga of Cameroon who has been elected Chairman of the Drafting Committee and to all the other members of his committee, who have a very difficult task ahead of them but who I am sure will discharge it effectively.
Allow me now, Mr. Chairman, to congratulate the FAO Secretariat for presenting us with documents CL 82/2 and CL 82/2-Sup.1 which by any standards, I would like to say, are remarkable examples of report presentation. Factually accurate as they must be, the brilliant analysis that accompanies it provides us with an excellent basis for discussion of the world food and agricultural situation. If there was something wanting in it, it has been amply provided by Professor Islam, who while giving a clear and comprehensive introduction to the subject matter has amply summed up the world food and agricultural situation. My compliments to him also.
What we learnt from the documents can only be viewed with the greatest of concern. The world economic situation has been superbly epitomised in the statement made by Dr. Edouard Saouma, the Director-General of the FAO. In his statement he laid bare the stark realities which confront the world today in its fight against hunger and poverty, reminding simultaneously of our inadequacies in coming to grips with the challenge we face. I would most humbly and sincerely congratulate the Director-General for his most illuminating and informative speech, and for bringing into relief those factors which hold the key to the future of the food and agricultural situation around the world.
It was very disappointing to hear and to learn that a number of factors have reinforced each other negatively, so much so that for the first time in thirty years the per capita GNP of the developing world as a whole last year experienced a decline.
The very poor Third World seems now to have become even poorer than it was a generation ago. Despite an overall increase in food production, there are pockets of inadequacy, and mismatch between the growth rates of food production and population. The list of dismal narratives could be prolonged, but they are all there in cold print, and I will not repeat them here. What with food aid commitment, replacement target of IEFR, unfavourable terms of trade for the developing countries, falling export earnings, rising import bills and flagging levels of external assistance, the overall picture that emerges is a rather gloomy one in which the gap between what we wish to be and what we are becoming gets wider rather than narrows down.
We share with the Director-General his legitimate concern over the world economic situation, and hope that this realisation of the realities would lead to more substantive action by way of correcting it.
It is heartening to note in this otherwise bleak scenario that in the field of agricultural production things have improved. The overall position in relation to developing countries is better than before, although the gains are not quite evenly distributed. It is particularly pleasing to note that for the first time in three years per capita food production in the developing countries has increased in 1981, and cereal production in 1981 was actually up by 7 percent over the previous year. It is also gratifying to see on record that cereal carry-over stocks are expected now to rise to about the required 18 percent level of annual world consumption.
All these must have been the result of determined efforts on' the part of the international community, the developing and developed world taken together, and basically the developing countries themselves. In this improvement of the agricultural scenario FAO has also made a significant contribution, and I would like to compliment the Director-General for the sustained efforts his Organization has made in making agriculture more productive globally.
In assessing the situation there is no doubt that we have to take all factors into account. As far as the developed countries are concerned, which as the Director-General himself said and as we quite understand are not without their problems. Bitter effects of inflation, recession and high unemployment levels continue to afflict them, limiting the capacity for them to go as far as they could go in making things easier for the developing countries. There may be a difference in the perception of the mechanism that could more effectively contribute to the resolution of these problems, or at least in easing them. It may be a question of being convinced about the efficacy of one approach to the exclusion of another, and certainly there is need for greater appreciation of the points at issue. In this, FAO for example could undertake studies to demonstrate in convincing terms to the developed world that further liberalisation of trade with, and greater volume of imports from, accompanied by an increased volume of assistance to, the developing countries may prove more helpful than protected or insulated domestic markets, for the former will help expand their economies, create increased purchasing power and additional effective consumer demand for their own marketable surpluses, thus easing the way for them to tackle, or at least absorb better the effects of inflation, recession and unemployment.
It is also recognised that the primary responsibility of developing their own lot rests on the developing countries themselves, and it has now been widely demonstrated subject to the limitation imposed by unfavourable external economic forces affecting their economies in ways over which they have little control, developing countries have taken active steps to re-order priorities and have ever since been making relentless efforts to increase food production nationally in a bid to be self-reliant. Some countries have even done better than the recommended growth rate of 3.5% to 4% in the FAO study AT 2000.
Perhaps even better results could be achieved were it not for certain other sets of circumstances many of which again may have often been outside their control. One such thing, for example, is the weather or rainfall, In Bangladesh where weather heavily influences the crop production, it was largely responsible for crop losses in 1979 and 1980. However, 1981 saw production increase of the order of about 11% over the average of the previous two years. Part of this was due undoubtedly to favourable weather conditions but certainly not all. The rest was the result of determined efforts on the part of the Government to attain food self-sufficiency by 1985 and the resultant adoption and implementation of what is known as the medium-term food production plan.
The strategy in this connection addresses three main areas: first, efforts to reduce farmers' risk associated with unpredictability of water supply through development of irrigation facilities; second, efforts to increase both cropping intensity and productivity through adoption of HYV technology and third, efforts to reduce the economic risks faced by the farmers in an environment of price uncertainty through adoption of adequate output price support measures.
In 1982 production fell due to somewhat adverse weather, but was still about 6 percent higher than that of the year before, which in effect means that production over the last two years increased at an annual average rate of 8.8 percent over the average of the previous two years. The effect of deliberate planning would be evident if this is viewed in the back-drop of production increase over the twelve years from 1970 through 1981 during which period growth rate averaged 2.6 percent. About 25 percent of this was due to increases in acreage sown while the remaining 75 percent was achieved through higher productivity. A dramatic increase averaging 32 percent per annum has taken place in the last two years in the production of wheat although it still represents only 7.5 percent of total foodgrains output.
The Secretariat document deals with a number of other aspects connected with agricultural production - things like land use, agricultural labour, agricultural research, use of inputs like improved seeds, fertilizer, power, pesticides, etc. I may have missed it but I did not notice agricultural credit, which is one of the important inputs, discussed in the documents. The Secretariat may like to consider its inclusion for future analysis.
As regards the other factors, we feel a brief reference to individual country experience may help the total picture by bringing out the problems. Bangladesh being a land-scarce country, almost all arable land is under the plow and the recent real increases have resulted from an intensive use of land, the cropping intensity reaching as high a level as 153 percent. Significant improvements have been taking place in food grain production in Bangladesh, mainly due to input-based production strategy. There has been a steady growth of fertilizer use over the last few years. Some recent dampening in the growth rate has been there, but that is considered a temporary phenomenon caused by a substantial lowering of subsidies. Steady agricultural policy, however, continues to be hampered by the year to year variations in production prospects arising from changes in weather conditions. Highly vulnerable as Bangladesh agriculture is on weather variations, this dependence becomes overwhelmingly important if moisture stress due to inadequate rainfall occurs during certain critical stages of the crop's growth cycle. Yield differences of as much as up to 20 to 25% may result from this. In order to avert a major food crisis, it is necessary that additional imports be arranged in time but, to facilitate that, a more precise estimate of yield decline is needed than is possible to obtain now. More detailed weather-based crop forecast is now seen in Bangladesh as the basis of an early warning system that needs to be evolved. This is an area where FAO could help in a great many ways. Such an early warning system would also be relevant to many other countries similarly placed as ourselves.
Self-sufficiency in food must be preceded by placement of increasingly greater emphasis on intensification of research with a view to both adaptation of transferred technology as well as improving local production technology, on wholesale improvements in the extension services and integration of extension with research, on action programmes designed to bring about rural development as a whole and providing incentives to farmers to invest more in the production process. Bangladesh has a modest but comprehensive base of research institutions and programmes but to cope with the situation that base had to be broadened. Attention has to be focussed on the crop dynamics of deep water paddy, the effects of continued mono-culture, cropping patterns and of the virtual absence of growth in the production process of non-food grain crops and non-crop agricultural activities. The cost-efficient development of animal draft power to complete the necessary harvesting and subsequent field preparation work between two successive crops within the very short time available in a cropping intensity scenario of over 150% is a case of second generation technological constraint to further rapid increase of cropping intensity. These aspects of productional problems may be found elsewhere also and hence there is a strong case for joint collaboration in agricultural research. Fortunately, the foundation of such a regional collaboration in agriculture has been laid in South Asia between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with Bangladesh as the coordinating country. It is considered an important step forward in the TCDC concept and certainly much greater use of TCDC could be made to increase productivity and minimize cost of production.
We notice from the document that to reach the normative growth rates proposed in the FAO's study of AT 2000, fertilizer use in the developing countries would rise from four to five fold. Along with the quantitative increase, the question that will assume increasingly greater importance, in view particularly of its rising cost, is its efficiency of use. Unless this is grossly increased and wastage as is currently reported is avoided, fertilizer use may even lead to yield instability. With HYV technology, irrigation and disease resistant varieties when considered independently are yield stabilizing. But these changes also demand a higher quantum of recurring inputs like fertilizer. Upward fluctuations of fertilizer prices, particularly for a country with unfavourable balance of payment position and in a low level external assistance scenario, would tend to exercise a destabilizing influence on crop production. Stabilizing technology often tends to be accompanied by destabilizing factors and on balance absolute variability tends to increase. To minimise this trend, efficient fertilizer use is a must. TCP - type projects designed to educate the farmers on the efficient, balanced and soil-relevant use of fertilizer should be increasingly implemented on a wider scale than is the case at present.
I would now like to take a few more minutes to go briefly over some aspects of food security mentioned in the Director-General's statement in the context of increased food production. We entirely agree with the Director-General in his view, as we heard him say yesterday, that there is as yet no internationally agreed scheme of world food security through which supplies would be guaranteed on a concessional basis in time of need. As a matter of fact this is directly demonstrated by our present day experience. For had there been such agreed principles the world would have benefitted much more from the present global agricultural production situation. At the moment there is no absolute correspondence between increased production globally and increased food security.
Production in 1981 was better than before and yet it does not appear to have made much of a difference to the world food problem. The world as a whole is now not short of food. World supplies of dietary energy are now even said to be about 10 percent more than the nutritional requirement of the population. The developing countries as a whole are food-deficit in relation to the developed countries, no doubt, but even among them there are many with enough food. The root of the hunger problem seems therefore to lie in distribution. More than food, what is scarce in today's world is the purchasing power. The problem needs coordinated action at the global and the regional level, and the national level. At the national level access to food is as much a function of national income, particularly its export earnings, as total global availability. Similarly at the individual's level this access is conditioned as much by his income as total national availability. In fact chronic hunger is also rooted in poverty and food security is inextricably linked with the well-being of the inarticulate and voiceless small man of the village, the small farmer, fisherman, etc. His real income must be augmented, more gainful employment must be found for him and he must be given adequate access to land and other inputs to increase production or to produce food for himself. Fortunately for us, as the last FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific held in Jakarta where the emphasis was on equity considered, this fact has been receiving increasing recognition. FAO has been doing an excellent job focussing progressively greater world attention to this aspect of agricultural development vis-à-vis food security but obviously more remains to be done.
The Director-General has mentioned that the present is surely the time to search for a decisive breakthrough in achieving better world food security. While the search goes on, a number of ways to attain better food security could be suggested. One for example could be that high - income food deficit developing countries could think in terms of investing in food production in low-income developing countries with identified potential to grow more food grains. FAO in its catalytic capacity to banish hunger could help in a big way by undertaking studies in this regard on economic as well as technical feasibility.
There could be a realistic exercise also in diversifying food habits by undertaking studies for the production and/or improvement in production and popularisation of non-traditional food. For example, in Bangladesh, the contribution of crops other than cereals to food availability has been relatively small. Pulses and oilseeds are important calorie and protein sources and potatoes can potentially make a significant incremental contribution to bridge a part of the caloric deficits. Assuming a 4:1 ratio in the caloric/unit - weight between rice and potatoes, a doubling of the potato harvest at the present level of 1 million tons can in principle substitute for the calorie deficit caused by a 200,000 ton deficit or decline in rice production. As it is now, a bumper croo directly contributes only to the lowering of market prices leading to further disincentive for the farmer. Pulses have roughly the same calorie content per unit-weight as food grains; therefore a doubling of output of pulses - not an overambitious objective from the existing rather modest level - can imply an impact on calories similar to that in the case of potatoes. The combined effect would be to reduce import of food grains by about 30 percent. Such could be stated also about other non-cereals, vegetables, fruits, sea-food, fisheries, etc.
Before I conclude I would like to say that as the Director-General indicated, it is not merely a hope but there is ample evidence to support it that it is possible to end world hunger and to nourish all the world's people and its children by the year 2000. We, meaning the world as a whole, have the necessary technology and also the necessary resources. What may be needed is the determination and the will. The gloomy picture that we have of ourselves today cannot, we hope, fail to galvanize the international community into having that necessary will and determination to have a brighter and more stable future. Given that, we should not take very long to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
F. PAJENK (Yugoslavia): It is indeed difficult to qualify the current world food situation. If one were to take into account only the production side and commercial aspects, in isolation of the trends, especially recent ones from 1977 onwards, the situation could be assessed as satisfac-tory. If, however, the current situation is considered in proper perspective, if the overall economic situation is taken into consideration, if we paid due attention to the clear fact that international cooperation for development has been deteriorating for years, we would know that it is, in fact, at the moment worse than ever. The food situation gives much cause for concern. Of course I will not go into details; suffice it to say that my delegation is in full agreement with the overall assessment of the Director-General as expressed yesterday in his opening address.
Now a couple of specific issues. I doubt that I have to add much to the excellent document prepared by the Secretariat, in fact two documents, as far as commercial aspects are concerned. However, allow me to make a brief comment on the cereal price levels. This aspect seems to be very strange. The price levels are low by all standards in real terms; indeed, very low from the point of view of main exporting producer countries, which are faced with a substantial relative increase in input prices. I am the last one to underestimate the potential consequence of low cereal prices on production. On the other hand, due to the strengthening of the dollar vis-à-vis other currencies, the price level is not low for importing countries, especially developing ones which are facing a hostile external environment, especially in the area of trade.
Thus, Mr. Chairman, it seems that cereal prices are at the moment simultaneously low and high depending on the view angle. Paradoxical situation indeed, with gloomy potential impact. Another more general aspect of prices I believe also deserves our attention. I am referring to what the Director-General said yesterday. He was quite right in emphasizing, to say the least, the oversimplified thesis according to which developing countries tend to discriminate against their own agriculture through low price levels. The thesis has been initiated in academic circles, as usual. However, it is now becoming even a precondition for development assistance which is in our view another symbol of Donor-Bias. I will not go into arguments, though I might. It will not be too difficult to show that the thesis is overly simplified, as compared with the complex and highly varying situations. However, at the moment it seems to me enough to indicate full support of the Yugoslav delegation to the intention of the Director-General to undertake a thorough study on price levels. It should be done for all countries, not only for developing ones.
Official external assistance to agriculture in 1981 was at the level of 60 percent of the annual requirement of $8 300 million in 1975 prices. The declining trends have continued in 1982.
The crisis of the multilateral financial institutions whose resources are based on voluntary contributions has reached a critical level notwithstanding the highest priority assigned to food and agriculture by many international fora, and notwithstanding the merits, qualities and importance of the activities of these institutions. Let us just mention IFAD, UNDP, WFP, IEFR, whose resources in real terms are cut for the current or next biennia causing serious reduction in their development and humanitarian assistance.
The growing trend towards bilateralism can have serious political implications, which of course do not pertain to this body. But the first victim of bilaterialism would be the agricultural sector - that is the achievement of the growth in food production, development of agricultural infrastructure, training, small - scale projects for rural development, etc.
The political declarations should be transformed into practical actions and highest priority accorded to food and they should be reflected in adequate measures including sufficient support to the multi-lateral institutions.
RADIN SOENARNO (Malaysia): It is apparent by now that the item under consideration is a matter of great concern to all of us as it has always been to the Director-General of FAO and other institu-tions dealing with food and agriculture. The importance of food, or the lack of it, in many parts of the world has been high in the agenda of gatherings of world leaders in recent years. There appeared to be a widespread global, political and technical appreciation of the significance and implication of the food situation on the people of the world. Endless discussion on the subject by various fora had brought forth regional and national concern and also had raised hopes for a better future to the millions of hungry people of the developing countries. It is sad however to note that these hopes are still devoid of complete result and that the world continues to face a bleak future. The efforts of world communities, the international organizations, and those of the donor nations themselves in the past have enabled many developing countries to make substantial progress in food production. We were encouraged in the fact that many of the developing countries were now close to food self-sufficiency. This showed that increased food production was a real possibility in many developing countries of the world, if there were the will and the means to concentrate on the devel-opment of the agricultural potentials of our countries. It is Malaysia's belief that the will already exists but in many countries the means are still by and large non-existent due to a number of factors. These means include capital and the technical know-how to develop and increase food production. In many of these countries the means required for the development effort is large and extensive and unless this is made available the magnitude of poverty, hunger and malnutrition will continue to persist and in fact expand. Much more, therefore, remains to be done by all of us. Developing countries, in spite of the progress that has been made, continue to become increasingly dependent on external subsistence in their efforts for agricultural development. This is a challenging time, but unfortunately international cooperation is at one of its bleakest periods. The flow of development funds is lagging, the terms of agricultural trade had worsened and the prices of agricultural productions had declined. The agenda which the international community wanted to put into operation with regard to the world food programme to bring about in an integrated way increased food production, better distribution, improved food security, expanded trade in agricultural commodities and external assistance had been greatly affected by the current recession.
The repeated plea by the Director-General of FAO to developing countries to make all possible efforts to increase domestic food production should be heeded more now than ever before. The reality is that our Government will need to organize and provide the necessary prerequisites for agricultural development. Each one of us in our respective country has to address these problems with a sense of urgency because, as it has been repeatedly said, the basic solution to the problem would be to increase food production in the developing countries themselves at an ever accelerating pace. However, the efforts to increase food production still require technical and financial resources which are lacking in some of the developing countries. The importance of continued assistance from international organizations like the FAO in the efforts to increase domestic food production in the developing countries cannot therefore be overemphasized. Depending on the natural resource endow-ment and the state of development, food and agricultural development in a country could be achieved in a number of ways, either through extensive use of land resources with little technology, or through highly intensive systems that involve modern imput to farming. Through whatever systems one chooses, resources must be made available to see some farm families improve their productivity. Most of the developing countries of the world share common characteristics in a farming problem associated with the predominance of marginal farmers and fishermen. Improving and stabilizing the productivity would be a prerequisite to improve food production improvement in the country. The follow-up of WCARRD Programme of Action could provide the basis for this development. There are also the problems related to uneven regional development in a country and also the question of inequitable distribution of farm income.
As emphasized in the Jakarta concensus adopted at the Sixteenth Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific on Equity, Growth and Stability in Development "the attainment of production targets is not enough. They should be unequivocally geared to the objective of social equity and justice. More equitable participation of the rural poor in the benefits of growth providing solid foundations for national, regional, as well as global stability".
My delegation is glad this meeting is considering the resolution adopted by the Sixteenth Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific on the establishment of a regional commission for world food security for Asia an the Pacific. We will touch more on this when the item is discussed but suffice it to say that since food security is of paramount importance in our efforts to overcome poverty and hunger there is a need for closer cooperation at the regional and sub-regional levels to complement the development of contribution global activities to food security.
C. NTSANE (Lesotho): The state of food and agriculture has been eloquently depicted, and in fact as the Director-General indicated yesterday, this is not the first time that the gloomy situation has been brought to the attention of the world community. The factors responsible for the deterioration of the scenario have been clearly identified in many studies and analyses. Possible practical solutions, at least in theory, have been worked out. These extend all the way from review and reformulation of food strategies through rational mobilization and redeployment of the necessary resources, including interim interventions of food aid sensitization and mobilization of political will to buttress the technical programmes. The gravity of the situation has left political leaders no choice but to articulate their commitment to the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, such as we had from His Excellency the President of Cape Verde yesterday. The collective expression in this regard has been exemplified by the agriculture chapter of the Lagos Plan of Action in Africa, written with the help of our organization and the Food Security Programme and the Southern African Development Coordinating Council. Therefore broad objectives and guidelines are available. There is the political will, but what requires serious attention is the expert technology to mobilize and deploy available resources. In this connection, the establishment of the Technical Cooperation Programme was in recognition of this dimension. The positive results and growing demand bear testimony to the need to augment greatly this service. In the view of the Regional Conference for Africa, the most practical way would be to allocate specific resources for the training of personnel to the highest level in order permanently to cater for the need which is temporarily filled by TCP. We emphasize training because the consistent failure of the international community to revise the declining trends in food and agriculture is an indication that the matter is a complex one, so complex that without the full understanding of the network of social, economic, political and cultural factors, external efforts to help may make little difference. I believe this is one reason why the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development was held. This whole paper in front of us tells us that Africa is the hungriest continent, the least developed and the most seriously affected by current recession, inflation and negative balance of payments and yet paradoxically one with the highest potential. There is nothing wrong with the soil, the wind, the sun and the water in Africa. What is wrong, though, seems to be the management of these resources. We are calling on this Council to endorse heavy and massive training of planners and managers of resources in Africa.
It was interesting to note from Dr. Islam's introduction that in the Asian region it was only in China that marked production increases were experienced. Perhaps their unique style of resource management is mainly responsible. Unique resource management styles can only be invented by children of the soil.
Having indicated the weakness and responsibility of developing countries I vould like to be specific on what we require FAO to do. We wish FAO to continue monitoring the world food situation, but more than that it should now help to document and interpret local efforts of developing countries. We make this specific point because sometimes one gets the impression that international development assistance declines because donors get tired of endlessly pumping in resources without significant effect. The truth of the matter is that there is wastage in the manner in which it is used. In many cases the conditions set by donors are responsible for inefficient use of aid resource, in other cases application of resources to aspects that are not crucial to development programmes. The net effect, however, is that not enough resources go into direct production of food. Therefore in this period of declining development aid FAO should strictly monitor the efficiency with which resources are applied to food production and agriculture. This we would hope should constitute a section of this document in future. Let me emphasize here that when we speak about monitoring efficiency in the use of resources we are not only referring to the resources available to FAO but even those of other donors applied in developing countries. In Lesotho we face a difficulty of disagreement with donors over what we believe our priorities are and what they think should be our priorities.
I should conclude by saying that more than ever before developing nations have become much clearer about their problems, their potential and possibilities. While we remain grateful to our Organization and to the generous donors, if however we sometimes seem to be nagging and pushing or screaming, it is only because we want to maximize on the benefits from goodwill and the united effort of the world community to reverse the deplorable trends in food and agriculture.
L. ARIZA HIDALGO (Cuba): Ante todo queremos saludar a usted, señor Presidente, y felicitar a los delegados de Bangladesh, Panamá, y a la República Federal Alemana por la elección de que han sido objeto en este Consejo.
Nuestra delegación ha estudiado con detenimiento el documento CL 82/2 que nos ha proporcionado la Secretaría para el análisis y discusión de este importante tema. Al respecto, quisiéramos plantear que nuestra delegación está de acuerdo con la evaluación general que se hace al inicio del documento y que fue complementada por el Director General en su intervención del día de ayer y por el señor Islam en la presentación del tema, salvando, a nuestro entender, la relatividad de algunos conceptos optimistas y el carácter global de la situación mundial.
Consideramos muy acertada la afirmación que se hace en el párrafo 8 en el sentido de que la recesión económica, la limitación de presupuestos estatales y especialmente, a nuestro modo de ver, la actitud de algunos gobiernos en los problemas mundiales han afectado directamente a las perspectivas agrícolas de los países en desarrollo.
El hecho de que las asignaciones de asistencia externa a la agricultura en los últimos años sean cada vez menores y la disminución del volumen del comercio agrícola en comparación con el comercio de otros sectores son buena muestra del deterioro continuado de la situación agrícola y alimentaria en el mundo. A esto tenemos que añadir el descenso de los precios de muchos productos agrícolas, especialmente de productos de exportaciones muy importantes para los países desarrollados.
En America Latina, que está considerada en algunos párrafos de este documento como el área menos afectada, podemos decir que de acuerdo a un análisis reciente hecho por la CEPAL acerca de la evolución económica de la región en 1981 el resultado fue negativo totalmente, y en 1982 no hay indicios de que la situación haya mejorado.
El ritmo de crecimiento de la región en su conjunto fue solamente de 1,2 por ciento, tasa inferior a todas las registradas en los últimos 35 años. El ritmo medio de la inflación alcanzó un 60 por ciento, que es el más alto jamás registrado excepto sólo un año, 1976, ya que alcanzó un punto más.
El sector externo se vio gravemente afectado, entre otros factores, por la acentuada baja sufrida en los precios de los principales productos básicos que exporta la región, los cuales, por ejemplo el azúcar, sufrió una reducción de un 38 por ciento en aquel año y que en la actualidad es del 50 por ciento; el cafe, el cacao, el cobre, el estaño alrededor de un 20 por ciento; el trigo, maíz, carne vacuna y mineral de hierro entre un 10 y un 14; mientras el precio de las importaciones aumentó en un 7 por ciento.
En otras regiones del mundo, como la de Africa, a pesar de los esfuerzos que han hecho en muchos países y en el ámbito regional en su conjunto, la situación sigue siendo más desfavorable aún, se puede considerar de catastrófica en algunos países.
Consideramos, señor Presidente, corroborando lo expresado por el excelentísimo señor Presidente de Cabo Verde, que los problemas alimentarios están hoy en el centro mismo de la problemática internacional contemporánea, tanto en lo que compete a los problemas políticos como a los problemas económicos actuales.
Tradicionalmente uno de los elementos más problemáticos para los países en desarrollo ha sido precisamente las dificultades para el acceso a la totalidad de la población a los alimentos que requiere y en la actualidad los efectos de la crisis económica internacional se abaten con mayor fuerza también sobre las economías de los países subdesarrollados, provocando una exacerbación de las condiciones de miseria, hambre, subalimentación y salubridad, desempleo, por solo mencionar algunas de las más significativas.
Una vez más tenemos que declarar con honda preocupación, instando además que este Consejo medite profundamente, que la crisis económica mundial se empeora día a día por el incremento de la carrera armamentista que constituye una grave amenaza a la seguridad internacional, a la estabilidad económica mundial, sobre todo al desarrollo de los países subdesarrollados. Nuestra delegación considera que es innegable la vinculación entre la paz y el desarrollo, siendo necesario que se liberen los valiosos recursos que se destinan a la guerra y se destinen al desarrollo de los países, contribuyendo al bienestar y a la prosperidad de todos.
En realidad la profundización de la crisis económica exige la búsqueda concertada y sistemática de soluciones verdaderas y perdurables; sin embargo, me parece necesario resaltar que a pesar de esta íntegra realidad algunos países desarrollados persisten en recurrir a decisiones unilaterales arbitrarias negándose a llevar a cabo auténticas negociaciones. Como ejemplo palpable podemos citar las demoras y trabas para iniciar negociaciones globales unido a la grave disminución en el nivel de los recursos de las diversas instituciones financieras y de desarrollo intermultilaterales, en las cuales sus decisiones tienen un peso importante.
La actitud negativa de estos países está dirigida directamente en contra del espíritu con que se concibe la cooperación economica multilateral y las metas que se había fijado la Comunidad Interna-cional mediante la declaración y programa de acción sobre el establecimiento de un Nuevo Orden Económico Internacional, la Carta de los Derechos y Deberes Económicos de los Estados, las Estrategias Internacionales del Desarrollo para el tercer Decenio de las Naciones Unidas, aspectos en los que la FAO se ha pronunciado en abundancia.
A todo esto habría que agregar la reiterada utilización de los alimentos como arma política. El señor Director General, al intervenir en la Conferencia Interparlamentaria celebrada recientemente en Roma planteaba, con mucha razón, y cito: "Ejemplos recientes han demostrado que el hambre puede hacer peligrar regímenes, aumentar las tensiones sociales, comprometer la independencia de los países más vulnerables; el arma de los alimentos es más que una tentación".
Con relación a los aspectos específicos contenidos en el documento CL 82/2 mi delegación quisiera expresar su preocupación referente a lo planteado en el párrafo 44 sobre la contribución a la RAIE, la cual en julio de 1982 ascendió sólo a unas 404.000 toneladas de cereales. En este sentido consideramos que además de reiterar la necesidad, cada vez más apremiante de cumplimentar la ya escasa meta de 500.000 toneladas de cereales anuales para la RAIE, debemos recomendar una vez más la necesidad que la misma tenga un carácter plenamente multilateral y esté totalmente a disposición del PMA para que garantice esta multilateralidad y sobre todo la universalidad para cumplir los principios programáticos por los cuales surgió este programa. La forma de poner en práctica éste y otros aspectos importantes directamente implicados en el incremento de la producción, están contenidos en el Programa de Acción de la Conferencia Mundial de Reforma Agraria, cuando se dice, cuando se plantea la necesidad de establecer sistemas agrarios que creen puestos de trabajo y hagan aumentar los ingresos de los grupos rurales desfavorables a la relación que tienen con el aumento de la productividad. Nosotros insistimos en el Programa de Acción de la Conferencia Mundial de Reforma Agraria, o sea, que existen los mecanismos; solamente nos hace falta que los mis nos sean puestos en práctica por los Gobiernos. Es una decisión política, además de que los países subdesarrollados deben contar con la ayuda financiera necesaria. Estas dos cuestiones son fundamentales.
Pensamos que los países que tienen excedentes de alimentos pueden jugar un importante papel. Asimismo, la distribución equitativa de lo que se produce ha sido un elemento que nuestra delegación ha considerado siempre fundamental. Consideramos también que en la difícil situación en que se encuentra el problema alimentario, resulta más que necesario aumentar la afluencia de recursos y de todo otro tipo a la agricultura. Por consiguiente, nuestra delegación quisiera exhortar al Consejo a que se pronuncie por una administración mayor de recursos que permita incrementar la producción en el sector agrícola. Especialmente nos preocupa la disminución de las contribuciones de organismos, e igualmente, nos parece una ocasión apropiada para que el Consejo solicite a los países donantes que hagan esfuerzos por cumplimentar los objetivos del Programa Mundial, y se repongan en su momento también los recursos del FIDA, resultando éste también un marco idóneo para destacar, como lo han hecho otras distinguidas delegaciones, los efectos negativos que para nuestra economía tiene la política proteccionista que aplican algunos países de economía de mercado industrializados a los principales renglones de exportación de los países en desarrollo, productos que en su mayoría son la espina dorsal de nuestros ingresos.
Estos problemas quedaron perfectamente enmarcados en algunas resoluciones aprobadas por la 17. Conferencia Regional de la FAO para America Latina celebrada en septiembre pasado en Managua.
Esperamos con optimismo que la reunión del GATT logre resultados satisfactorios aunque sean modestos. Hace apenas un mes se pronunció la Declaración de Roma sobre el Hambre en ocasión del Día Mundial de la Alimentación. Estamos convencidos de que en la misma primó la necesidad de realizar un gran esfuerzo mundial para lograr el crecimiento de los países en desarrollo y que todos los países deben priorizar la producción y la distribución de alimentos. Confiamos en que esta declaración quede presente en todos y que la realización de esfuerzos sostenidos para lograr una mayor equidad consti-tuya el centro de nuestras conclusiones en este Consejo. Sobre los aspectos específicos de Montes, Medio Ambiente, Pesca, Investigación Aplicada, nuestra delegación se pronunciará dentro del Programa de este Consejo.
R.C. SERSALE DI CERISANO (Argentina): Hemos analizado con mucho interés el documento CL 82/2 y su suplemento. Su estudio nos ha dado una visión global de la coyuntura en materia alimentaria y agrícola. Quisiera felicitar por su intermedio, señor Presidente, a la Secretaría por la preparación del mismo.
Por nuestra parte, quisiéramos presentar en esta ocasión los resultados de la preocupación argentina en aumentar su producción de alimentos que se traduce para el año 1982, en condiciones climáticas normales, en las siguientes cifras estimativas:
La producción de granos aumentará en un 22,4 por ciento respecto a la campaña anterior, esto es, siete millones y medio de toneladas por encima del récord de 33 millones y medio de toneladas de la campaña anterior. Este incremento de la producción permitirá elevar las exportaciones de 22 millones de toneladas en 1982 a 30 millones en 1983.
La primera estimación de producción de trigo permite esperar una exportación de entre siete millones y medio y ocho millones de toneladas contra los casi cuatro de la campaña anterior.
La exportación del resto de cereales se podría aumentar en dos millones de toneladas sobre los casi trece millones de la campaña anterior. En cuanto a las oleaginosas, la exportación podrá incrementarse en 1,3 millones de toneladas en 1982. Todos estos logros mencionados resultan fundamentalmente de la introducción de tecnología, que se ha traducido en un significativo incremento de la productividad. Podemos decir que somos optimistas respecto al futuro en materia de producción agrícola interna, ya que el volumen físico global de la cosecha creció a la tasa acumulativa anual del 3,9 por ciento en el año 1982.
Dentro de este marco global, los avances logrados para el mismo período en el trigo es el de un rendimiento de un 47,5 por ciento mayor por hectárea, y en los casos del maíz y del sorgo, para el mismo período, los rendimientos por hectárea crecieron en 133 por ciento y 132 por ciento, respectivamente. Por su parte, los volúmenes de exportación durante los últimos 10 años han crecido a una tasa anual del 8 por ciento anual acumulativo.
Con todo lo dicho hasta aquí, sólo queremos hacer notar las características expansivas de la actividad agrícola argentina que testimonia nuestra decisión de continuar efectuando significativos y crecientes aportes a la seguridad alimentaria mundial.
Ahora bien, viendo esta última cuestión desde una perspectiva global, existen otras variables a tener en cuenta, y que afectan al desarrollo agrícola y alimentario. Me refiero a lo dicho ya en otras oportunidades, y esta es la influencia limitante que ejerce sobre nuestras aspiraciones y posibilidades productivas la política proteccionista que aplican la mayoría de los países industria-lizados. Sus efectos perniciosos anulan las ventajas comparativas, impidiendo el desarrollo de la potencialidad productiva de los países con probada eficiencia agrícola.
Estas prácticas de mercado que aplican la amplia mayoría de los países industrializados contra los países en desarrollo, por conducto de un sistema de barreras comerciales y subsidios a las exportaciones impiden la plena utilización de la capacidad de producción de alimentos en los países en desarrollo, a la vez que ocasionan, en general, una grave disminución en su producción.
La Argentina en los últimos años, ha sido particularmente afectada en materia de productos cárnicos. Los subsidios a la exportación que otorgan los países de la Comunidad Económica Europea vienen desplazando a la Argentina de terceros mercados, repercutiendo en las perspectivas de nuestra producción ganadera.
Sabemos que no existe solución al creciente proteccionismo comercial fuera de su contexto global. Los países industrializados sufren recesión con inflación, desempleo, inestabilidad monetaria. Así mismo, tratan de solucionar sus problemas de estancamiento y desocupación interna, imponiendo barreras comerciales. Por su parte, los países en desarrollo enfrentan su principal problema en el fuerte endeudamiento externo que solamente se puede superar aumentando sus exportaciones, que son principalmente agrícolas.
No obstante, existe una tendencia de aminoración en su comercio y un aumento del deterioro de los términos de intercambio. De esta manera, nosotros, los países en desarrollo, cada vez tenemos menos alicientes para extender nuestra frontera agrícola, ya sea vertical u horizontalmente, así como también nos enfrentamos a una situación donde no podremos hacer frente a nuestros pesados servicios de deuda externa.
Si a esta situación de índole estructural le agregamos la tendencia decreciente que muestran las cifras de la asistencia oficial externa a la agricultura, como resultado de la situación antes descrita, nos enfrentamos ante un cuadro difícil, y donde el norte ya no tiene casi nada que ofrecerle al sur, en su estancado dialogo. Resultado de todo ello es que cada vez los hechos mencio-nados, entre otros, nos llevan a alejarnos más del programa de acción que plantea el Programa de Estudio: Horizonte 2000, el cómo duplicar la producción agrícola del mundo al comenzar el próximo siglo, lo cual también es un importante elemento que nos indica que también nos alejamos de la posibilidad de erradicar el hambre y la malnutrición del mundo, con todo lo que ello implica.
J. TCHICAYA (Congo) : Je voudrais avant tout présenter mes félicitations à M. Saouma, Directeur général de notre Organisation qui, dans son intervention d'hier après-midi, nous a dépeint avec objectivité et courage, comme à l’accoutumée, la situation réelle actuelle de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture dans le monde. Les documents soumis à notre examen sur ce point de l'ordre du jour, et dont je salue en passant la clarté et la richesse, sont les vivants témoignages de cette préoccupation à propos de la situation.
L'année 1981, nous le savons, a permis d'excellentes récoltes dans les pays développés, mais aussi dans nombre de pays en développement. Mais nous n'ignorons pas que cet accroissement de la production agricole et alimentaire n'a pas atteint tous les pays. Mieux, beaucoup d'entre eux ont été en proie à de graves pénuries alimentaires et de situations d'urgence. Il est donc temps de garantir un rééquilibrage de la répartition de la nourriture dans le monde.
L'humanité ne peut tolérer la pérennité actuelle, où la nourriture est abondante dans certaines parties du monde, au point que l'on organise parfois sa destruction, cependant que d'autres contrées manquent atrocement de quoi se nourrir.
Devant une telle situation, la solution la plus facile consisterait à déverser ces surplus alimentaires dans des régions insuffisamment pourvues.
Nous pensons que cette conception de l'assistance doit être dépassée, et l'on ne doit y recourir que pour des situations d'urgence reconnues et qui ont pour objectif de sauver des vies humaines menacées par la mort. Mais, même ici, cette solution doit être perçue comme provisoire et se muer rapidement en aide au développement.
Malheureusement, cette aide au développement susceptible d'accroître le potentiel de production emprunte depuis quelques années une courbe dangereusement descendante qui nous inquiète et qui incite à penser que les pays donateurs ne sont guère suffisamment préoccupés par l'actuelle situation.
Certes, nous vivons aujourd'hui un monde en crise. Les pays développés eux-mêmes ne sont guère épargnés. Mais nous devons également reconnaître que, malgré la crise, des ressources importantes sont distraites dans la course aux armements et l'on sait qu'une infime partie des budgets consacrés aux arsenaux militaires suffirait pour renverser la tendance actuelle et créer les conditions d'un monde où la faim serait proscrite.
M. le Président, la dernière Conférence régionale de la FAO pour l'Afrique nous a permis de constater que nombre de pays de notre région ont conçu des plans et stratégies d'autosuffisance alimentaire pour répondre aux préoccupations du Plan d'action de Lagos, mais que dans la phase exécutoire ces plans et programmes se heurtent à une insuffisance notoire de moyens tant humains que financiers. Il s'agit là de freins sérieux qui ne peuvent se desserrer sans le concours massif et généreux des pays donateurs, ainsi que des programmes de la FAO.
La crise économique internationale comme on le sait, frappe avec plus de rigueur et d'ampleur les pays économiquement faibles qui, de ce fait, manquent des moyens pour accroître les investissements dans l'agriculture en vue de la moderniser et risquent des situations d'urgence qui continuent à préoccuper les responsables chargés d'y remédier. Il est, à ce sujet, inquiétant qu'après avoir, pour la première fois, atteint l'objectif minimum de 500 mille tonnes en 1981 les perspectives de la RAIU redeviennent sombres et menacent en conséquence les ressources ordinaires du PAM dont on n'est pas encore assuré qu'elles atteindront l'objectif même au prochain biennium. Nous pensons que devant une telle situation les appels lancés hier par son Excellence M. Aristide Pereira, Président de la République du Cap-Vert et Président en service du FISE, ainsi que la plaidoierie du Directeur général de la FAO seront entendus et amèneront les grands contributeurs à oeuvrer pour que le FIDA, le PAM et le PNUD bénéficient de ressources suffisantes pour aider à la mise en oeuvre des programmes d'accroissement de la production agricole et alimentaire de chaque pays, seul moyen d'enrayer la faim et éloigner les situations d'urgence imprévisibles.
Je voudrais ici exprimer le soutien de ma délégation aux propos tenus ce matin par mon eminent collègue et voisin l'Ambassadeur Bula Hoyos à propos de l'aide alimentaire qui doit être désintéressée. C'est pour cette raison que notre délégation pense que les pays donateurs attachés à la liberté et soucieux du caractère humanitaire de cette oeuvre devraient privilégier l'aide multilatérale au développement, exempte de considérations politiques et idéologiques. A ce sujet comment ne pas citer l'exemple de notre pays hôte qui vient bousculer les tendances rétrogrades actuelles qui voudraient voir l'aide bilatérale prendre le dessus sur l'assistance multilatérale et qai fait confiance aux organisations internationales créées à cet effet.
En outre, la situation qui nous est décrite dans le document soumis à notre examen, notamment pour la région africaine, appelle les responsables politiques de cette région à créer un programme de coopération économique intégrée et s'assurer que la mise en oeuvre d'un tel programme demande des ressources importantes qu'un seul Etat, aussi pourvu soit-il, ne peut assurer. C'est pourquoi l'aide multilatérale semble la seule appropriée. L'examen de la situation en Afrique au cours de la Conférence régionale tenue à Alger en septembre dernier a permis de se rendre compte que du fait de la réduction des ressources du PNUD plusieurs projets de coopération inter-Etats, étudiés avec l'aide de la FAO, restent en souffrance et dans l'état actuel des choses rien ne permet d'indiquer qu'ils seront mis en oeuvre dans un avenir prévisible.
Enfin, ls sécurité alimentaire mondiale ne peut pas s'accommoder d'une faible production agricole et alimentaire dans les pays à faible revenu et dotés d'un niveau d'endettement bien au-dessus de leur capacité de remboursement.
Cependant, une sécurité alimentaire viable exige la mise en place d'un système agricole et alimentaire vigoureux à l'abri des aleas climatiques mais cette voie ne semble pas être celle qu'empruntent ces secteurs dans les pays à faible revenu et à déficit alimentaire, en raison de la faiblesse des investissements dans ce secteur, faiblesse qui favorise l'insuffisance de devises, conséquence d'un commerce largement déficitaire pour ces pays, en raison entre autres,des termes de l'échange défa-vorables. Il convient donc que l'humanité entière se ressaisisse à temps et les moyens existent pour ce faire; seule la volonté politique manque. Nous sommes sensibles aux efforts que déploie le Directeur général de la FAO pour faire connaître la situation catastrophique de l'Afrique, immobilisant ainsi les ressources internationales. Nous émettons ;'espoir qu'il tiendra compte des résolutions adoptées par notre Conférence régionale d'Alger, notamment en ce qui concerne les programmes de formation car l'Afrique manque de main-d'oeuvre qualifiée et de cadres de niveau supérieur, condition qui à nos yeux constitue un préalable pour un déploiement véritable de notre région.
T. AHMAD (Pakistan): First of all, we wish to congratulate the Director-General, Professor Islam, and his colleagues for the document CL 82/2 and Supplement 1 thereof. Both the documents most comprehensively provide the assessment of the world food and agriculture situation.
In this context, we also wish to convey our appreciation to the Director General who in his statement yesterday provided the analytical perspective to the descriptive wealth which these documents provide.
We do not wish to make a lengthy statement, particularly in view of the fact the delegates from other member nations have already highlighted various important aspects of the state of food and agriculture. We only wish to concentrate on issues emerging from these documents which are of great concern to us, and, we are sure, to other developing countries.
The current world food situation is a frustratingly complex panorama with islands of plenty surrounded by vast oceans of hunger and poverty. The harvests of 1981 and 1982 were good though that by itself does not assure food supplies for all nations and for all nations and for all people.
The 2 percent general increase for 1981 and 1982 is unequally and unevenly distributed over different regions of the world. The overall increase in cereal production is concentrated in developed countries. The improved situation in world carry-over stocks is also concentrated in one region of the world. In the absence of reliable global food security systems, the developing countries remain at the mercy of vagaries of the weather and the market instability. They continue to suffer from adverse changes in their agricultural and food trade. While inflation remains high the production costs in the developing countries are constantly rising, more often than not as a result of external factors. Their total export revenue stagnate and decline in real value. To restrict agricultural inputs and equipment at increasing prices, the developing countries have to sell more and more raw materials at lower and lower prices. The situation is particularly serious for the poor food deficit countries who are tightly squeezed between rising import costs of food and fuel and the decline of prices for their exportable agricultural products.
We readily agree with the Director-General: "the question of price policies is a vital but complex one", and we commend the Director-General's initiative regarding major study of this question.
In view of this situation, we cannot but be concerned with the declining trend in international assistance, particularly through the multinational channels as highlighted in Paragraph 41 and 42 of document CL 82/2 Sup. 1. We are gravely concerned with the stagnation in development assistance. The reduction or stagnation in the flow of resources from multilateral agencies will have a disproportionately serious effect on the food and agriculture sectors. It will affect both the low income food deficit countries and those developing countries who have achieved some progress in their agricultural sectors during the past few years.
The claim by some that long term solutions lie only in the market economy and private enterprise has to be viewed with caution. Investment in the poorest countries, particularly in the food and agriculture sector where a great deal of investment is needed in physical and social infrastructure such as research and training, can hardly be attractive to private investors whose motives are predominatly commercial. In this context the most urgent issue is not only to prevent the imminent decline in the field of external resources for agriculture but to ensure a significant acceleration to achieve the target of annual average increase of 4 percent in the agricultural production in developing countries.
We recognize that the solution to the problem of world food and hunger cannot be found in a year or two. It is a complex multi-faceted problem which needs continuous and consistent effort on the part of national governments and the international community. Over the past decade the complexity of the world's hunger problem has become increasingly apparent. However, no one can deny that hunger is largely caused by poverty and under-development. It is not because of an overall insufficiency of food in the world as is apparent from the good harvests of 1981 and 1982, but because millions of people throughout the world have neither the ability to grow food nor the money to purchase the food they need. Their sufferings are not merely a harmless by-product of a permissible omission on the part of others but is a wrong commited against them. It is violation of their basic moral right. The right to be saved from hunger and starvation is at the core of the more general moral right of human beings to be saved from preventable death due to deprivation. This right has bees affirmed repeatedly by both national and international institutions.
Just to cite an example, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states: "everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate to the health and well-being of himself and his family including food, clothing, housing, etc."
I mention this affirmation of human rights to highlight the fact that elimination of the world's hunger is not a matter of charity, but of justice. Life below a certain specified level of sustenance cannot and should not be tolerated.
While concluding, I am constrained to point out that even if the good harvests of 1981 and 1982 cannot assure food to all the hungry people in the world it is time that the world community had another look at the global economic and agriculture system.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you for being so helpful in making a short and precise statement.
J. BELGRAVE (New Zealand): Could I first on behalf of my delegation and the countries of the South West Pacific region which New Zealand represents welcome you as Chairman of the Eighty-second Session of Council. We look forward to working under your guidance I would also like to record our congratulations to the Vice Chairmen on their election for this session.
New Zealand takes this opportunity to re-affirm its support for the work FAO is doing in this most important area of increasing food production. Although Agenda Item 5 addresses FAO's work in the area of food security in detail it is appropriate to record under this item that New Zealand supports the efforts being made by FAO to promote the development of world food security where food shortages are a real threat not only to development generally but also to the improvement of living standards in many parts of the world.
New Zealand represents on this Council a number of countries including the small Island States of the South Pacific. As a consequence we are devoting the majority of our assistance efforts to these Island countries which are also our nearest neighbours.
In general these countries are small economic units which are isolated from the rest of the world. They are subject particularly to economic forces outside their control. Therefore, we are watching with interest the development of FAO programmes for agriculture which can be adapted to help these countries.
It seems to my delegation that in looking at some of the techniques being developed to promote world food production, FAO needs to continue to give emphasis to helping countries to promote increases in their own food production rather than their having to rely indefinitely on food supplies from buffer stock schemes or from donor countries. We also welcome the fact that FAO is now able to give more attention to the South West Pacific in this context.
We feel that it is possible to transfer food production techniques from one country to another to help the development of food production. This transfer of food production techniques is being used by FAO and it is to be commended.
In his review of the State of Food and Agriculture the Director-General has highlighted a number of problems currently facing the world today. He noted, that notwithstandin, increases in food production, for example 1981 global agricultural production increased by 2.9 percent. The current world economic situation manifested by high unemployment, high interest rates and high levels of inflation in a number of countries has never-the-less placed a much greater strain on the ability of many countries to pay for essential imports including food imports. Mr. Chairman, this makes it even more important that FAO continues to try and assist countries to develop their own food production. In this connection also, Mr Chairman, it is New Zealand's belief that food producers in developing countries should be given sufficient financial incentives to stimulate the development of food production. We welcome along with other delegations, therefore, the Director-General's proposal announced yesterday to examine the complex area of pricing policy in agriculture.
New Zealand as an agricultural producer is aware of the serious problems being faced in achieving the necessary development of agricultural production and the stability and expansion of trade in this sector. We are concerned about current production surpluses in some parts of the world and critical shortages in others.
The problems of agriculture are of course not isolated. Most nations, as the Director-General mentioned, are faced with wider and longer term structural problems. The recessionary effects on agriculture are the most important. In particular world economic problems, and measures to react to these such as tight monetary policies, have been accompanied by a fall in commodity prices to their lowest level in three decades and to a halt in the growth of international trade volumes. These conditions have exacerbated the problem of many developing countries by increasing their interest payments on already large debts, prompting further deterioration in their terms of trade and reduced export volumes.
The crucial question is of course how lower-income and food-deficit countries can continue to improve their own food production.
New Zealand along with many other agricultural producers remains very concerned about policies of agricultural protectionism which make it very difficult for producers of agricultural products to maintain and develop sales of these products to industrialised countries. We look forward to the current meeting in Geneva of Ministers of the GATT in the hope that a workable system leading to an international trading system which reflects the needs of exporters of agricultural products can be developed.
New Zealand adheres to the principle that trade is the engine of growth. We should all look seriously at the right ways of realising this objective. Bilateral and multilateral initiatives should be towards greater awareness and accommodation of agricultural trading problems and we hope that the GATT meetings will hopefully arrive at ways of solving these problems.
New Zealand is an agriculturally based economy - 75 percent of our export income derives from sales of primary products. We therefore have a real appreciation of the difficult problems faced by developing country producers.
Increased production in food in the developing countries themselves and a climate for economic growth including trade growth in the international community as a whole complement each other. But this trade growth must of course enable agricultural producers to participate in it.
This Eighty-second Session of Council has a number of important items to be addressed which complement the principle problems which face us and we will be considering them as we work through our agenda.
On behalf of the South West Pacific region New Zealand would like to reiterate its congratulations to you and to the Vice-Chairmen. We would also like to congratulate the Director-General and his hard working staff for the part they have played in the making of this Council session the success we know it will be.
F.M. MBEWE (Zambia): The document which is under discussion has highlighted the deteriorating situation in food and agriculture in the world generally, but in particular in Africa. Among the problems which are thus indicated there is the bad situation caused by drought and climatic conditions. Unfortunately, the document does not mention even very briefly what measures have been taken or ought to be taken by this Organization to combat the situation. It is felt by my delegation that since FAO was created to assist its Member States to try and improve their food production, the document should have mentioned its activities in this area which I think are quite numerous.
One of the problems mentioned as a cause of low food production in 17 countries in Africa is drought. We feel that this problem should be tackled by improving irrigation networks and that FAO should therefore emphasize its work in this area. We have been encouraged to hear the statement by the United States Delegation in which that country has pledged support to FAO in implementing programmes and projects aimed at increasing food production in developing countries. We say this because our experience has shown that policy incentives alone are not enough to encourage farmers to produce more food. We had in Zambia tried to provide a number of incentives including pricing, accelerated depreciation, tax rebates, etc. The efforts of the farmers to respond to these incentives have not been blessed with adequate rainfall. Therefore the food shortfall cannot be attributed to lack of proper policies.
It is for this reason that I would like to echo a number of Member States' statements that there is a need to develop agricultural infrastructure capabilities. This is a paramount area of attack. I wish specifically to refer to irrigation networks, agricultural research, extension training, marketing and credit. In our opinion a proper mix of these has a higher impact on increasing production than pricing policy alone, and it does facilitate the pricing policies work to their full capacity.
FAO should therefore intensify its efforts in assisting Member States, particularly those in the developing world, to try and prepare programmes and projects in these important areas of development and donors, particularly major donors from the Western group who tend to play a bigger role in bilateral and multilateral operations, to try and support to bring about these programmes to reality.
P. GOSSELIN (Canada): First of all, let me add my congratulations to those of my colleagues for your appointment, Mr. Chairman, and to those of Bangladesh, Panama and the Federal Republic of Germany on their election to the position of Vice-Chairmen, and my colleague from the Cameroon as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee.
We would like to commend the Secretariat for their efforts in the preparation of these interesting documents. I would also like to thank those delegations who had already spoken on this item for their particularly insightful remarks about the successes as well as the difficulties that some countries still may face in their struggle to conquer hunger and malnutrition and to achieve food self-sufficiency. While the problems and difficulties abound, the situation is not entirely bleak. If we were to review the objectives and targets that we set before ourselves 10 years ago, we would be agreeably surprised to discover that in spite of these obstacles and difficulties, many countries have made remarkable progress. The statements that we heard this morning from India and China are eloquent testimony to this fact. Other countries have also experienced similar successes. Excessive gloom can sometimes lead to despair and we feel that what is required in this struggle is the conviction that our continued and, hopefully, increased efforts and resources will lead to the attainment of our collective objectives.
The documents that we have before us contain not only instances or descriptions of difficulties; they have also pointed out to us eloquently that we have achieved some successes, and I think in the search for balance that perhaps recalling some of these might be useful.
In Table 1 there is an indication that the rate of food production in many parts of the world has shown a marked increase. Table 3 suggests some concern about projected low-reserves for the 1980/81 period and this is interpreted as endemic to the system and requiring basic reforms. Yet the system, while far from perfect, is correcting itself. The 1982 forecast of reserves at 18 percent now and perhaps higher in the future, points in that direction.
In this context, we welcome the Director-General's announcement yesterday in his speech of a study on the effects of pricing policies. Table 10 tells us there are now available $7 billion in multilateral assistance for agriculture, a figure that, while understandably probably far short of the real needs, is nonetheless not negligible in these difficult times.
Table 12 shows us that reliance on traditional donors is declining and that there are more donors coming forward to assist. This is certainly a trend to be encouraged as is that of the neediest countries getting an ever-increasing share of the available resources.
Paragraph 41 of the study points out that the number of emergencies has declined and that the food shortages are somewhat less critical. What is unfortunate behind these figures is that many of these emergencies which still remain are man-made. In paragraph 44 we are pleased to note that more donors are joining in a joint WFP/IEFR pledging conference. We remain convinced that this will be a successful technique for the announcement of donor contributions.
Canada for its part has given the primacy of place in development assistance to agriculture.
At present approximately 35 percent of our total ODA resources goes to agricultural and we estimate that by 1985 this figure will be 40 percent.
This Council can also claim successes. Many members here will recall the discussions we have had in the past, both in FAO and IFPI, WFC, on the IMF facility. This is now a reality. We had similar debates on food sector strategies and now many countries, donors and recipients, in international organizations such as the FAO support this technique. We applaud, therefore, the efforts made by developing countries to give agriculture and food production its proper place and we encourage them to utilize the assistance available from both bilateral and multilateral sources to the best possible uses.
J.M. SCOULAR (United Kingdom) : We are glad that despite world recession, agricultural production rose in 1981 and that harvests are expected in 1982 to be equally good, as the Director-General told us in his important address yesterday. However, the decline in prices will act as a disincentive to producers and this may be reflected in reduced production from annual crops in future seasons. We support the cautionary note struck by the document that there is no room for complacency, but at the same time there are some grounds for optimism, as has been said so eloquently by the delegate of Canada who has, in fact, taken a large part of my speech away!
We are, of course, concerned,along with many other delegates, that the poorest growth rate figures in terms of production and some of the highest in terms of population growth come from sub-Saharan Africa. African food production therefore remains a problem, but it is worth noting that a growth rate of 3 percent per annum was achieved from 1977-1981, which is a considerable improvement over past performance. The fact also that five African countries, mentioned in paragraph 20, have had good increases indicates, or seems to us to indicate, that suitable domestic policies backed up by international assistance, can bring about significant improvement in the short and long term.
I would now like to turn to comments on individual sectors of the report. First of all, on land, we find it encouraging that land productivity is now rising more quickly in developing countries. Increasing the intensity of land use is a necessity now, but it does bring in train problems associated with soil erosion and declining fertility.
We also noted a mention of land abundance in Africa, in paragraphs 71 to 72. Much of this land is under valuable forest cover, and we have heard a lot about deforestation and desertification; and some of it has relatively poor agricultural potential and would be very costly to develop. There is, we think, still considerable potential to improve the productivity of land already cultivated, and especially the development of existing irrigation schemes.
To turn now to Agricultural Research; the importance of this research is not disputed; indeed we agree strongly with a number of other delegates on this point. It is important especially that developing countries make effective systems of their own, and that the research is appropriate to the needs of the country. Where countries depress the price of their agricultural products, this not only acts as a direct disincentive to production, but also tends to distort research priorities by under-valuing the benefits of research into those products. Over pricing can also lead to excessive research whose social value is doubtful. It also appears to us that there is still inadequate research into technological improvement of materials like cassava, for example, as compared with the success stories of wheat, rice, and to some extent maize.
We note that although paragraph 83 emphasizes that agricultural research, both promotes and economizes in the use of inputs, the conclusion in paragraph 89 suggests increased use of inputs is essential for achieving production objectives. We believe, however, that research can lead, and is leading, to sustained and increased output without necessarily requiring increased inputs.
Then on the question of seeds; we support, of course, fully, the important role that improved seeds can play, but we must sound a cautionary note, that the development of full potential depends also on better management and input. In the absence of these vital components anticipated improvements sometimes do not materialize and injurious side effects can result if insufficient attention has been paid to the reliability of yield, storage quality and palatability.
Now to turn to environmental issues, we support very strongly the need to protect the environment to which many delegates, especially the delegate of Brazil, referred, and see a role for developing more permanent systems in the areas under shifting agriculture. The international research institutions have an important role to play in this. We feel that environmental issues are inherent in the total resource use for agricultural production. Policymakers therefore have to ensure that the different environments within each country are considered most carefully, including the application of lessons drawn from some traditional systems. Research under practical farming conditions on changes in the microenvironment has been, in our view, given too little attention.
Finally, on External Assistance; the Report stresses the fact that real aid flows to agriculture fell in both 1979 and 1980 and probably also in 1981. However, it is perhaps worth noting that the share of aid to agriculture in total ODA from the DAC and multilateral agencies has risen steadily from 12 percent in 1973 to 23 percent in 1979. The problem of decreasing absolute amounts of aid to agriculture is more a problem of declining total aid flows than a lack of donor perception of the needs of agriculture. In the United Kingdom we are taking such steps as we can to ensure that a satisfactory proportion of our bilateral aid is devoted to agriculture.
S. BELLETTE (Ethiopia): According to our agenda the Council is called upon to examine several problems of global importance, the most important being the state of food and agriculture and in particular the problem of deteriorating per capita food and agricultural production of the developing countries that we are presently discussing.
By and large my delegation concurs with the sober assessment of the food and agriculture situation of 1982 presented in document CL 82/2 and its supplements.
We recall the statement made by the Director-General yesterday indicating that the present decade started with a multiplicity of crises that call for great concern of the world community. Hunger still looms a large peril in food-deficit low-income countries of the world. Persons who are classed as refugees or those who are displaced from their normal mode of life due to natural disasters or man-made causes still claim high doses of international assistance of all kinds, especially of food, and in the Africa region neither in food nor in agriculture, as it has been indicated in the document and as mentioned by several delegates, has shown sufficient growth. In fact most sources of global information indicate that the current decade has been perhaps the bleakest to date in terms of development and in the face of all these anomalies, developing countries are forced to carry an unfair burden of trade relations with developed countries, that is developing countries must pay many times more for what they must import compared to what they can earn by exporting raw materials to developed countries. To this must be added the negative effect of the high cost of fossil fuels.
As has been mentioned numerous times by delegates this morning and this afternoon, this forum is not the most appropriate to render a balancing account of the complex ramifications of the unjust international economic order that prevails today. My delegation considers, however, that outstanding global failures vis-a-vis past decisions and resolutions for collective action should be examined at this forum.
Socialist Ethiopia considers food self-sufficiency or self-reliance in agricultural and food production an essential part of overall development. Thus, great emphasis is being placed on such strategies for development as conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources, such as land, water, plant and animal resources, with major focus on enhancing the welfare of the community and productive employment of the human resources certainly increased food production for domestic consumption through concentrated efforts of potential productive areas and also in such strategy as increasing production of agricultural commodities to increase the foreign exchange earning capabilities. All such strategies are founded on the radical re-structure of the social economic system relying on peasant participation and organization in all spheres of activities whether political through peasant associations or economic, through establishment and expansion of the producers' cooperatives and other social activities from the grass-root level to the national level. This we realize cannot be done by relying on domestic resources alone. Consequently we attach great importance to the rationale behind the past decision of the world body that developed countries ought to make over 0.7 percent of their GNP every year to developing countries for the purpose of expediting the realization of an overall development. Up to now only one or two donor countries may have reached that level in that kind of contribution. The global call for real increase in food and agricultural production stands at 4 percent. The performance so far appears to be dismal in general; also earlier reports for 1982 indicate an encouraging relief in the otherwise bleak picture. This target itself may not invite a call for revision but the means that can be mustered by the developing countries to achieve a 4 percent annual rate of growth in food and agricultural production are not only meagre but also subject to many uncertainties, most of which are beyond the control of the developing countries.
Turning to regional matters, Ethiopia finds cause for satisfaction that FAO pursues Africa's interests in food and agricultural production in the agricultural segment of the Lagos Plan of Action. I am also glad to acknowledge that the Lagos Plan of Action was given by African states, members of FAO, the high consideration that it deserves during the Twelfth FAO Regional Conference for Africa held in Algiers from 22 September to 2 October 1982.
At this juncture my delegation wishes to expand on a constructive suggestion expressed by the delegates of Kenya and Cameroon and others on how the state of food and agriculture can be further elaborated and improved, especially in Africa, for a better understanding of this complex issue.
It is indeed gratifying to note the seriousness that the Director-General attaches to the problem of food and agriculture in the African continent and his determined efforts to devise concrete programmes of action to combat this problem of hunger in the less developed countries.
I shall wind up at this point by promising the fullest cooperation of my delegation to assist in the search for possible and practical solutions.
E. HARAOUI (Liban) (langue originale arabe) : Je vous remercie, Monsieur le Président. La déclaration du Professeur Islam, lors de l'introduction du point relatif à la situation de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture en 1982, a été excellente et mérite tous nos remerciements; elle s'est distinguée par le courage, la franchise et la clarté de vues. Ceci nous amène à remercier le Secrétariat dans son ensemble pour l'effort déployé afin de préparer les deux documents que nous sommes en train d'étudier, le CL 82/2 et le CL 82/2 Sup.1 relatifs tous deux à la situation de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture en 1982. Ces documents prouvent que notre monde connaît une phase très critique. En effet, l'économie mondiale connaît la récession, l'inflation, le chômage et l'instabilité financière, ainsi que des politiques protectionnistes exagérées.
Nous enregistrons avec beaucoup de plaisir ce qu'a déclaré M. le Directeur géneral (repris d'ailleurs dans le document de travail) au sujet de l'amélioration de la situation alimentaire et agricole en 1981. En effet l'augmentation de la production au cours de l'année 1981 a été supérieure à celle enregistrée au cours des années 70, et bien meilleure que celle des dernières années.
Mais si cette situation pousse à l'optimisme, nous ne devons pas oublier la situation veritable qui fait apparaître la différence de plus en plus grande en matière de production entre pays développés et pays en développement, entre telle région et telle autre. C'est le cas du Proche-Orient par exemple, de l'Amérique latine où le taux de croissance de la production est supérieur à la moyenne mondiale.
Dans la région du Proche-Orient à laquelle appartient le Liban, l'augmentation de la production agricole annuelle n'a pas dépassé 1,9 pour cent. C'est là une situation très préoccupante. C'est ce qu'a déclaré le Directeur général en disant que bien qu'il y ait une augmentation globale de la production alimentaire et agricole, il y a encore des pays en développement où les populations sont victimes de la faim et de la malnutrition.
Cela ne nous pousse-t-il pas à nous poser des questions ? Comment pouvons-nous accepter qu'il y ait une augmentation globale de la production alimentaire et agricole et en même temps une situation dans laquelle la malnutrition et la faim continuent à faire des victimes ?
Nous constatons une diminution des prix agricoles sans que cette diminution profite dans la même proportion aux pays consommateurs et importateurs des produits agricoles, malgré cette diminution relative des prix. De même, les agriculteurs des pays en développement et même des pays développés ne peuvent tirer un profit raisonnable de leur production, surtout si l'on tient compte de l'augmentation des prix des intrants, engrais, pesticides, machines agricoles, etc. alors que les prix des produits agricoles que perçoivent les agriculteurs baissent de plus en plus.
Ceci nous amène a exprimer également notre préoccupation pour la baisse des ressources allouées à l'assistance technique et l'aide alimentaire aux pays en développement.
Face à cette situation, ma délégation et mon pays ne peuvent qu'appuyer les efforts déployés par la FAO pour apporter de l'aide aux pays en développement et pour inciter les pays capables de le faire à augmenter leur participation à la RAIU et augmenter leur participation aux ressources du PAM. Nous sommes donc tout à fait d'accord avec l'appel du Directeur général lorsqu'il dit qu'il est impossible que notre monde soit incapable de corriger les tendances actuelles et d'adopter des politiques de nature à distribuer ses ressources de façon plus juste et plus rationnelle.
De même, nous appuyons les efforts de l'organisation en vue d'augmenter les ressources prévues pour l'assistance technique et les investissements nécessaires au développement agricole. Nous vous parlons ici plus particulièrement de la situation de la RAIU. En effet, bien qu'il y ait eu une amélioration de la RAIU pour 1981 tel que cela apparaît dans le paragraphe 44, pour 1982 il sera nécessaire d'en appeler aux pays donateurs afin qu'ils augmentent leur participation à cette Réserve, tel que cela a été recommandé par le Comité des politiques et programmes d'aide alimentaire (CPA) au cours de la session d'avril 1982. Cette recommandation nous paraît très raisonnable, d'autant qu'elle intervient au moment où la production alimentaire et agricole est en augmentation.
Permettez-moi, Monsieur le Président, en parlant de la situation de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture dans le monde, de pouvoir jeter un peu de lumière sur la situation agricole de mon pays, le Liban, ce pays qui a vécu une guerre et des évènements catastrophiques depuis 1975, ce pays dont l'agriculture a énormément souffert, ce pays dont les zones rurales ont besoin d'une aide énorme pour que l'agriculture libanaise retrouve sa croissance. Ce que demande le Liban dans ce contexte c'est de trouver l'aide et l'assistance, dans la situation difficile qu'il connaît, pour retrouver la stabilité, afin que le Liban puisse jouer son rôle dans l'augmentation de la production agricole;
Je me dois, Monsieur le Président, de rappeler la visite effectuée par le Président de la République, M. Amin Gemayel, tout de suite après son élection, à cette Organisation, pour reconnaître le rôle qu'a joué notre Organisation dans l'aide apportée au Liban durant ces sombres années et pour rappeler également que le Liban a besoin de toutes les formes d'aide afin de redevenir ce qu'il était avant la guerre : le Liban était au Proche-Orient un exemple, que ce soit sur le plan agricole ou sur le plan du développement en général.
G. DESESQUELLES (Observateur pour la Communauté économique européenne) : Je vous remercie, Monsieur le Président de me permettre d'intervenir au nom de la Communauté économique européenne et de ses Etats Membres,
Je voudrais tout d'abord exprimer nos remerciements au Secrétariat pour le rapport qu'il nous a remis. Ce document nous donne à la fois un excellent tableau de la situation globale en matière alimentaire et agricole et une analyse minutieuse des grands problèmes auxquels se heurte la Communauté internationale dans ses efforts pour assurer une sécurité alimentaire globale.
La Communauté europénne croit profondément que l'amélioration substantielle des disponibilités des réserves alimentaires mondiales, enregistrée au cours des deux dernières années, ne devrait pas inciter la Communauté internationale à l'autosatisfaction. En effet, la Communauté européenne considère que le manque de progrès dans la lutte contre la faim rend indispensable d'accroître l'efficacité des politiques de développement et de coopération.
La Communauté européenne croit profondément que l'amélioration substantielle des disponibilités et réserves alimentaires mondiales, enregistrée au cours des deux dernières années, ne devrait pas inciter la communauté internationale à l'autosatisfaction. En effet, la Communauté euro-péenne considère que le manque de progrès dans la lutte contre la faim rend indispensable d'accroître l'efficacité des politiques de développement et de coopération.
Bien que nous reconnaissions que la production agricole des pays industrialisés et la coopération internationale visant à l'établissement de réserves suffisantes continueront à jouer un rôle important pour garantir la sécurité alimentaire mondiale,nous sommes convaincus que la garantie d'une sécurité alimentaire satisfaisante implique l'intensification des efforts visant à accroître la production agricole, et notamment la production de denrées alimentaires destinées à la consommation intérieure des pays en voie de développement. A cet égard, nous estimons que le rapport du Secrétariat constitue une contribution importante grâce à son analyse des régions clés dans lesquelles les efforts de développement devraient se concentrer, l'établissement de centres de recherche agricole, la mise en place de systèmes efficaces de vulgarisation des connaissances techniques et une série d'autres suggestions importantes contenues dans le rapport. La Communauté estime également qu'il est absolument vital pour l'expansion de la production agricole des pays en voie de développement d'accorder aux producteurs nationaux des prix d'un niveau suffisant pour constituer une incitation. On constate souvent que certaines politiques privilégient l'approvisionnement des populations urbaines en aliments à bas prix aux dépens des producteurs agricoles du pays, ce qui a des effets négatifs sur la production agricole en cause. Nous sommes heureux de constater que, de plus en plus, on reconnaît la nécessité d'accorder aux producteurs agricoles du pays des incitations suffisantes, comme l'a exprimé de manière si éloquente le représentant du Zimbabwe lors de la récente conférence régionale de la FAO pour l'Afrique : "Une politique d'approvisionnement en denrées alimentaires bon marché n'est pas une politique alimentaire."
L'affirmation selon laquelle les politiques en faveur du développement du secteur agricole et, notamment, de la production alimentaire dans les pays en développement^qui n'est pas assez avancée pour résoudre les problèmes de l'approvisionnement alimentaire, a conduit la Communauté à chercher une meilleure intégration de son aide alimentaire propre et des politiques des pays receveurs. On peut considérer comme allant dans ce sens la décision de la Communauté créant la possibilité de fourniture d'aide alimentaire sur une base pluriannuelle aux pays receveurs qui ont mis au point une stratégie alimentaire cohérente dans laquelle l'aide alimentaire communautaire peut constituer un élément, à condition que ces stratégies soient destinées à améliorer de manière substantielle l'approvisionnement alimentaire intérieur dans un délai donné.
L'importance que la Communauté européenne attache au développement de la production agricole dans les pays en voie de développement ne signifie pas que nous manquions d'un intérêt tout particulier pour la coopération internationale visant à. améliorer la sécurité alimentaire.
Il est notoire que la Communauté européenne attache une grande importance à l'organisation d'une conférence en vue de négociations globales et a toujours insisté pour que les questions relatives à la sécurité alimentaire constituent un point important de l'ordre du jour de cette conférence.
La Communauté continue à soutenir le fonctionnement de la Réserve alimentaire internationale d'urgence. En effet, quoique les engagements pour 1982 aient été inférieurs de 20 pour cent à la réserve de 500 000 tonnes qui avait été fixée comme objectif, nous espérons que de nouveaux engagements pourront être faits avant la fin de la présente année. En outre, en 1981, les engagements ont dépassé l'objectif de 20 pour cent et une partie des engagements de 1981 ont été reportés sur 1982. Nous espérons que la Communauté internationale garantira que cette réserve permettra de remplir ses objectifs.
La Communauté européenne partage l'avis du Secrétariat selon lequel la situation actuellement satisfaisante des réserves globales de céréales pourrait bien être de courte durée. Le faible niveau des prix actuels sur le marché mondial et le programme de gel des terres adopté par les Etats-Unis vont entraîner inévitablement une diminution de la production mondiale. La Communauté européenne estime que la constitution des réserves de céréales appropriées reste essentielle pour la sécurité alimentaire et doit être assurée au mieux dans le cadre d'un nouvel accord international sur les céréales.
Aux paragraphes 48 et 50 le rapport du Secrétariat contient certaines informations sur les prix à la production agricole dans la CEE. Nous en partageons l'analyse. En ce qui concerne les échanges agricoles, nous espérons avec les autres délégations qu'un consensus pourra être trouvé lors de la prochaine réunion du GATT. A cet égard, la CEE considère que le débat agricole doit prendre en compte le particularisme de l'agriculture par rapport aux autres secteurs et doit être vu non plus sous le seul angle de la compétition entre exportateurs des pays développés mais aussi en prenant en considération les intérêts des pays importateurs et exportateurs des pays en voie de développement. Par ailleurs, je rappellerai que la CEE est le plus grand importateur de produits agricoles; 46 pour cent de ses importations agricoles proviennent des pays en voie de développement, soit 30 pour cent des exportations agricoles desdits pays.
En ce qui concerne la pêche, le rapport du Secrétariat souligne les difficultés d'adaptation de la structure de l'industrie de la pêche à la nouvelle juridiction en vigueur. Le rapport indique notamment que les Etats riverains du nord-ouest de l'Afrique n'ont pas encore pu utiliser les ressources des zones économiques exclusives qu'ils ont récemment acquises. Il est évident que des pays qui ont récemment été reconnus compétents sur de larges zones maritimes n'ont pas encore été en mesure d'augmenter leur flotte de pêche et l'infrastructure nécessaire à l'exploitation des ressources halieutiques de ces vastes zones. Cependant, le rapport omet de signaler que plusieurs de ces pays ont toutefois tiré un bénéfice de l'extension de leurs zones en concluant des accords aux termes desquels ils autorisent des bâtiments étrangers à pêcher dans leurs zones en échange d'une compensation financière. C'est ainsi que la communauté a conclu des accords de pêche avec un certain nombre de pays d'Afrique occidentale, aux termes desquels ces pays reçoivent des compensations financières très importantes et bénéficient d'une coopération dans le domaine de la formation des pêcheurs et des experts et techniciens de la pêche, ce qui, à plus long terme, permettra à ces pays de développer leurs propres industries de la pêche.
Voilà, les éléments de réflexion que la Communauté et ses Etats Membres voulaient développer sur ce point de l'ordre du jour. En concluant, j'aimerais rappeler l'importance que la Communauté a constamment attachée au développement de politiques internationales visant à améliorer la sécurité alimentaire mondiale. Elle continuera à donner son appui actif à toute coopération internationale à cet objectif.
MAI LUONG (Observateur pour le Viet Nam): Merci d'avoir donné aux pays observateurs du Conseil la parole devant cette importante session du Conseil. Puisque le temps presse nous serons très brefs en souhaitant que les travaux de cette quatre-vingt-deuxième session du Conseil sous la direction éclairée du Président et des trois vice-Présidents, du Président du comité de rédaction nouvellement élu et avec la participation des Etats Membres ici présents, seront couronnés de succès.
Nous remercions le Secrétariat pour avoir présenté un excellent document, CL 82/2 qui embrasse tous les points cruciaux de la situation actuelle de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture et qui est presque un tableau concret de ce qui a été dit en partie dans la brillante allocution du Directeur général de la FAO, le Dr. Edouard Saouma hier après-midi au moment de l'ouverture des travaux du Conseil.
Le contenu très varié des interventions de nombreux pays qui ont déjà pris la parole devant ce conseil nous intéresse vivement et nous suivons avec beaucoup d'attention ces débats.
Ainsi nous nous joignons aux six propositions contenues dans l'intervention ce matin du distingué représentant de l'ïnde dont la plupart tendent à élaborer une collaboration étroite, active, positive et surtout durable entre les pays sur le plan de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture.
Beaucoup de pays avant nous ont abordé l'importance et les effets positifs de la recherche agricole dans les paragraphes 82 à 88 de ce présent document. Certes ce document a donné une place importante à la recherche agricole qui, avec des programmes bien planifiés et organisés, ont amené à des accroissements spectaculaires de la production céréalière dans de nombreux pays en développement, comme pour le blé en Inde, au Bangladesh, au Mexique, au Pakistan; pour le maïs au Kenya, au Mexique, en Thaïlande; pour le riz en Birmanie, en Inde et aux Philippines, etc.
Mais c'est avec regret que le document constate que l'investissement réservé à la recherche agricole soit encore faible dans les pays en développement dont la majorité a une infrastructure de recherche inadéquate par manque de personnel nécessaire.
Notre délégation partage le désir exprimé par de nombreuses délégations qui ont pris la parole avant nous que la FAO ne négligerait aucun effort dans l'avenir pour promouvoir la recherche agricole surtout dans les pays en développement, par la vulgarisation, le transfert à temps des résultats acquis, la formation des cadres. Nous espérons aussi que l'importance de la recherche agricole sera mise en relief dans le prochain budget biennal de la FAO.
Enfin et surtout la délégation du Viet Nam est particulièrement sensible au point important souligné ce matin dans l'intervention du distingué ambassadeur de la Colombie, qui est : 'l'emploi de l'arme alimentaire'. Ceci a été repris aussi tout récemment par les distingués représentants de Cuba. Il en est de même pour les 'sanctions' que le distingué délégué de Pologne a soulignées dans son intervention.
J. GLISTRUP (Observer for Denmark): I wish to apologize for asking for the floor as an Observer at this late hour of the day and following such an elaborate discussion on this agenda item. The reason is that my government, which traditionally is using the document concerning the State of Food and Agriculture as a very important reference document, is considering the present one, CL 82/2, an excellent document with the exception of the text in paragraph 40 referring to the unfortunate outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in Denmark and in the German Democratic Republic in March, 1982. With respect to the further outbreaks and the control methods applied in the two countries mentioned in the document, my government would have preferred that the text would have reflected the situation in my country more correctly by stating that from March 18th until May 4th, 22 outbreaks of foot and mouth disease, type 01, were reported in Denmark. Strict control methods were mounted and the disease was kept under control and eradicated by means of total stamping out of all susceptible animals in the infected holdings without recourse to vaccination. By June 4th 1982, Denmark was declared free from the disease.
I shall take the liberty of submitting in writing more elaborately our point of view to the Secretariat to save time.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for this clarification. Is there anyone else who has been left out that had wanted the floor? If not, we have so far heard 35 speakers, 32 Members of the Council and three Observers. They have covered a wide ground.
Before I make a few concluding remarks, I shall give the floor to Professor Islam and to Mr. West for brief clarifications of some points.
N. ISLAM (Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Policy Department): May I thank the distinguished delegates for many helpful comments and suggestions they have made on the Secretariat document. We are happy to note that the Council in general agreed with the Secretariat appraisal and analysis of the world food and agriculture situation. We have taken note of the analysis and comments which the distinguished delegates have provided regarding their own country situation and experience, which will help us in the preparation of the enlarged and full report on the State of Food and Agriculture.
Questions have been asked about the nature and causes of year-to-year changes in food shortages as reported on the Secretariat document. In a number of countries, food shortages usually reflect declines in production due to weather rather than effects of national policies. Such policies take more than one year to show the noticeable effects. This is not to say there is no general progress in any of these countries in the short term.
The number of countries suffering from food shortages, as indicated in the Secretariat document, is therefore not indicative of the trends. We may have a larger number of emergency situations in future years if global conditions turn out to be less favourable. Moreover, the countries suffering from food shortages this year are not identical to those of last year.
With reference to the comments on the Secretariat document relating to resource use and input in agriculture, I would like to say that people undertake from time to time more intensive analysis of this issue. However, at the same time, I may emphasise that lack of data and information does hamper a satisfactory treatment of this issue. For example, detailed data on the use of all inputs is not available. This is true of such things as the use of high-yielding varieties of seeds, changes in irrigation areas and crops and effectiveness of the facilities, the use of power including animal power, etc. Many countries do not collect such data and many others, if they collect them , do not have access to them in a comprehensive manner all the time.
A comment was made specially on the inadequate treatment of agricultural trade issues, particularly of developing countries in the Secretariat document. The supplement to the document CL 82/2 Sup.1 does indeed give very detailed treatment of agricultural trade issues and developments. It does point out that the divergence in experience of developed and developing countries in terms of agricultural experts emphasises that in 1981 the developing countries exports value fell by 4 percent, while developed countries' exports remain unchanged. The net affect of these adverse developments was that developing countries for the first time had a negative trade balance in respect of agricultural products.
A few delegates have referred to the need for in-depth analysis at the global level on the lines of Agriculture: Towards 2000, and also at national levels in terms of agricultural sector analysis. I would like to remind delegates in this connection that the full and enlarged State of Agriculture which is published every year does contain special chapters every year, thus in 1981, survey analyses of rural poverty had a special chapter. In 1982 which will be published early next year neither stock production, especially in developing countries, nor the group of perspectives constitute a special chapter. Also may I inform the delegates that in our recent work in a few countries on sector analysis we have used data, analytical framework, and preliminary findings for Agriculture: Towards 2000, and undertaken a more general analysis and policy recommendations at the country level.
These are the few remarks I have to make.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL: I just wanted to clarify again one point that was raised again this afternoon. That was the form of the document,in relation to the suggestion that it was lacking in information about programme activities or implementation. This is a misunderstanding of the nature of the document It is a major analytical document,and always has been. In fact, you can say it is our major document, because it forms the centrepiece of Council and Conference discussions. It is the first item to be discussed and it receives a lot of attention in academic circles because; of its analytical content, and it is one of the few publications, to receive extensive publicity in newspapers.
For this reason the Council has always been very careful about making changes in it, and the changes it has made have been entirely in the direction of making it even more analytical and policy orientated.
It is not even necessary to include in the State of Food and Agriculture information about programme activities or implementation because these are to be found in other documents, for example, of the Regional Conferences which have been held this year. There have at each regional conference been documents on the State of Food and Agriculture within the region and the FAO activities which have been related thereto, as well as papers for the programming for the future.
Then in the Council and Conference you have medium-term objectives as well as the Programme of Work and Budget coming before you next year, plus the reviews of the regular and field programmes which describe our activities in relation to policies and plans, such as the Lagos Plan of Action.
So while I sympathise very much with the views of the delegates who expressed this idea, particularly those from Africa, I trust there will not be any suggestion of changing the format. Their impatience is understandable, and I think everybody sympathises with it. It is a matter of common accord that Africa should receive the highest priority, and therefore their concerns must be reflected in forthcoming FAO programming, planning and policy making and be reflected as appropriate in the documents on the subject. So it is with no lack of sympathy that I make the remarks I do, and I do hope there is no suggestion or misunderstanding now about the need to keep the State of Food and Agriculture in its present form as approved by Council and Conference.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. West, and Professor Islam. After such a long and intensive discussion it is not possible or necessary to try to make any summing up, but nevertheless it is my duty as the Chairman to pick up a few of the points made by different delegations and underline them, because as Mr. West said, the very idea of putting this at the top of the agenda is to try and give us a back-drop on which priorities, thrusts and strategies can be developed. It was clear from the interventions of 35 delegations that the paper can be more appropriately termed "The State of Food and Agriculture in an unequal world".
We had various kinds of pictures, but I would like to support those who said we must build on success, because nothing suceeds like success. Having heard the data given by several delegations here if you analyse it in an historical perspective, you will find that the progress made in the last twenty years in many developing countries in food production is quantitatively of a greater dimension than the one made during the previous ten thousand years since the time agriculture started. This is a matter for hope, and I think we should build on results of this kind, and in this context I am happy that we started our discussion with China where there are a billion and eight million people, according to the latest census. The success of their country and many other densely populated countries provide us with optimism.
Nevertheless, regional disparities in growth rates particularly with reference to sub-Saharan Africa and difficulties like the ones in Lebanon, have been underlined. I am happy the FAO document has clearly placed the state of food and agriculture in an ecological perspective.1982 also represents the 10th anniversary of the Stockholm conference on human environment, and those who have read the documents put out by United Nations Environment Programme with the help of FAO know they only show in the last ten years that although awareness has improved, commensurate action in arresting local disasters and ecological damages had not been forthcoming. Consequently, the ecological scenario is getting less optimistic and more dismal, and hence it is important to consider questions of food security in a background of ecological security; otherwise sustained agriculture advance will not be possible.
Various delegates' comments have fallen into five categories. The first group relates to the research and development strategies; I am glad many emphasise the need for building up the infrastructure for location of specific research, because we all know research becomes more important when agriculture starts moving. Under conditions of a static and stagnant agriculture research has no place, but once we start provoking change, many changes occur - something which we desire, something which we do not anticipate. Hence the importance of having a research and training infrastructure cannot be overemphasised.
As far as strategies are concerned, from the interventions it is clear five or six major areas require attention in our subsequent discussions.
Number one is sustaining and expanding the gains in irrigated areas with reference to production, because irrigation investment is high and heavy and, as many studies indicate, investments are not paying the dividend which was expected from them.
Number two, expanding the frontiers of applicability of new technologies to ecologically handicapped regions - that is handicapped either by moisture-stress or moisture excess - that is drought or flood prone areas. Sometimes both co-exist in countries like Bangladesh, with drought and flood during the growth of the plant itself.
Thirdly, increasing the production potential of problem soil areas, soils affected by salinity, alkalinity, acidity, or other production constraints. This has become particularly important in the context of shrinking land resources for agriculture. For example, calculations have shown that in south Asia alone about 85 million hectares can be made more productive if one or other of the soil constraints can be attended to.
Number four, the importance of the energy used through integrated systems of energy and nutrient supply and pest management have been emphasised both in the document and by the speakers.
Number five, increasing the income and employment potential of agriculture through attention to the entire farming system, and to improved post-harvest technologies and effective use of the entire bio-mass.
I entirely share the view expressed by some delegations that the famine of work or jobs is going to be even more important than the famine of food during this decade in many countries. We have seen the beginning of this in the developed and developing countries, and therefore the employment assessment of new technologies, particularly in countries where very large numbers of people are depending on land and water-based agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries and forestry are important.
It is necessary to assess the impact of new technology on women's occupations, as there is growing evidence that in many cases technologies can replace rural women from their traditional occupations without any substitute occupation being provided.
The next group of issues refer to the organization and management of agricultural occupation. This extremely important area, input production systems, technology, transfer systems, and above all the whole area of small farm management, have not received the attention they deserve.
The delegate of China made a mention of the approach in China where under social ownership of land steps have been taken to combine cooperative work with individual initiative. That is what he called the household responsibility system which tries to marry individual peasants' initiative with social ownership and cooperative management. Under individual ownership of small farms it is equally important that management issues of this kind are considered, particularly in areas where an entire watershed will have to be managed by the watershed community.
The next group of issues referred to by members relate to public policies that can simultaneously stimulate production and consumption because most developing countries have to, in their policies, try to stimulate both consumption and production simultaneously. It is obvious - as Prof. Islam said - that among the three major groups of factors which cause instability in production, namely weather, pest epidemics and public policies, public policies become important when the process of modernization of agriculture sets in. In other words, modernization implies the use of purchased inputs or cash inputs and then public policies really find the key to stability of production. I am therefore glad that all members have welcomed the initiative announced by the Director-General yesterday on making a study on input/output pricing policies, because we cannot divorce the two. It has to be an integrated strategy of input/output prices.
The storage and distribution problems have been mentioned and these are exceedingly important as a part of the public policy strategy because both distress sale on the one hand and panic purchase on the other, are the twin evils of an aberrant distribution system, this can be avoided if there are suitable public policies. Contingency planning to suit different weather probabilities had also been referred to and I wholeheartedly agree it is a matter for national governments to give a good deal of attention in relation to their own food and agricultural policies. Contingency
planning in areas characterized by chronic droughts or periodic floods will have to take into account two aspects of the problem. One is how to improve production in the most favourable areas and the second is to help to provide appropriate relief and rehabilitation in the most seriously affected areas. In other words, two sides of the problem: you may use the word MFA and MSA within a country, most favourable area from the point of view of production and most seriously affected area from the point of view of relief and rehabilitation measures and develop a package of measures which will minimise production losses and provide the needed alleviation of human distress.
In relation to regional and local action, I do not want to repeat the many important points which have been made on trade protectionism, IDA and concessional assistance, input pricing, fertilizer pricing, global food security and pricing of primary agricultural commodities, intended for export and so on; but what is the rule of FAO? After all we are a Council here to guide FAO in its policies and not merely talk about national policies, and this is where I think a number of useful suggestions have been made. What are the advantages of FAO in this global scenario of agriculture? Many member nations have pointed out where the comparative strengths of FAO lie. The whole area of statistics and information, analytical papers, early warning, timely action through the TCP programme, the human resources development programme and mobilization of additional resources through the investment centre and the calculation of the resources needed for modernization of agriculture, the regional cooperative programmes such as locust control, integrated pest management and above all the food security system, these are all areas where FAO can continue to render invaluable service.
May I conclude by giving my own assessment as a person who has been studying, working and participating in the agricultural scenario of India in particular, and now in other countries. I feel that as the growth of population presses hard on limited land resources under constant technology, we find all the time cultivation getting extended to more marginal areas and greater amounts of labour are being applied per unit of cultivated land. The real income of labour therefore goes down while land prices go up. Thus we find a very anomalous situation of high land prices in many developing countries, low labour wages and low productivity. This belongs to the classical world of Riccardo, the great economist and the only way to escape the Riccardian trap of low labour income, low productivity and high land price all co-existing at the same time is to intensify work on technologies which can help ensure that the demand for labour increases faster than its supply and that food supply increases faster than its demand. There is thus no time to relax. We must all help FAO to improve and enlarge its catalytic role in achieving accelerated agricultural advance.
These are some of the points which struck me as I was listening to the last six and a half hours of very valuable comments. Again I want to thank the 35 speakers who spoke because you have really set the stage for our discussion tomorrow on the issues of food security, international agricultural adjustment and so on. I thank you very much and I apologize to the interpreters for keeping them 20 minutes longer. We will meet tomorrow at 9.30.
The meeting rose at 17.50 hours.
La séance est levée à 17 h 50.
Se levanta la sesión a las 17.50 horas.