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4. State of Food and Agriculture, 1984
4. Situation de l’alimentation et de l’agriculture en 1984
4. El estado mundial de la agricultura y la alimentación, 1984

J.K. MUTHAMA (Observer for Kenya): I would like to start my contribution by congratulating you for continuing to give us your wise leadership in the deliberations of the Council. My delegation also wishes to congratulate the three Vice-Chairmen who have been elected to assist you in your difficult task.

Like many earlier speakers, we wish to congratulate the Director-General and the Secretariat for the excellent documentation we have before us. The keynote speech by the Director-General is something which should give the Council much inspiration and a sense of direction. I would like-particularly to mention the aspect which was emphasized by the Director-General, that is, that the problem faced by the food and agricultural sector, particularly in developing countries and in Africa in particular, is not a passing problem; it is not ephemeral or transient. It must be recognized as a problem which has arisen due to very fundamental circumstances related to infrastructure and the capacity to develop. It is clear that the drought has also made the position worse.

Another aspect emphasized by the Director-General was the priority that this Organization intended to give to Africa, particularly its practical support in helping Africa to be self-sufficient. The delegation of Kenya feels that this is very commendable work, but that it is work which should be accompanied by action-oriented programmes. I am glad to say that earlier speakers have shown by their comments that there is an increasing concern with increasing understanding of the problems involved and the need for the practical handling of them. All parties interested in solving these problems of food and agriculture must ask themselves whether these problems are really practical ones. Many of them are soluble. Many delegations indicated that solutions do exist, but that it is important to look at the necessary solutions with a long-term perspective.

Unfortunately, it appears that both donors and recipients in the international community seem to be more geared to reacting or responding to crises, and as we have seen, when the crisis comes, the help comes too late and usually in insufficient quantities. The Kenyan delegation feels that sufficient knowledge does exist and that sufficient analytical work has been done. We feel that probably the solution to the problem is being paralyzed by further analyses, and that we are paralyzing the problem rather than solving it by continuing our endless analyses.

The questions to which we should be addressing ourselves in reality are these: does a physical, technical base exist to improve agriculture and food to the required levels? Do the necessary financial and investment resources exist to achieve the required level of production? Does the necessary political will exist? Is the necessary priority given to solving these issues which are impending development? Are the multinational organizations of the United Nations properly oriented to address themselves to these problems? Are the donors committed to rid the world of the scourge of hunger giving the right level of resources at the right time? Or is it "too little, too late", as we have seen with the crisis in Africa?

Overall, the documentation provided by FAO and presented by Professor Nurul Islam indicated that investment in agriculture is inadequate, and that in fact there is declining support by the donors, particularly the multinational organizations such as IFAD, IBRD and UNDP. If we look closely, we find that the compounding of the problems of inadequate investment in agriculture with unfavourable balance of trade and decline in the prices of exported raw materials in real terms makes it impossible for developing countries to have a surplus in money or foreign exchange for investment in agriculture, and this will tend to make the position worse. The food crisis which has been exacerbated by drought has meant increased imports of food; this in turn has further eaten into the limited foreign exchange available, which again makes the question of investment in agriculture more difficult. We should not forget the serious macro-economic consequences of the problems with which agriculture has been faced. The problem relates to government revenues which has led to budget deficits, unemployment and debt servicing problems, all of which tend to make the position of agriculture and the movement towards self-sufficiency even more difficult.

It is unfortunate that overseas development assistance is also declining, and that developed countries have not found it necessary to increase the level of their contribution to ODA nearer to the 0.7 percent of GNP which was the target set by the United Nations system for the purposes of financial assistance. The problem of protectionism, as explained by earlier speakers - particularly the Chairman of the Group of 77 - is making it even more difficult for developing countries to get out of the vicious circle of under-development. There is the question of the deteriorating external environment; there is the question of lower prices of raw materials and trade barriers which impede the export of manufactured goods. All this adds up to reducing prospects for development and export; it leads to a diminished prospect of foreign exchange earnings and, of course, reduces the prospects of surplus cash for supporting development.

In conclusion, my delegation feels that there is need for self-examination, even self-criticism, by all the three parties which seem to be playing a part in the field of food and agriculture. On the side of the donors, my delegation feels that there is need for renewal of commitment and flexibility in aid granting so that developing countries can get rid of impediments to development, that they can have or develop programmes which donors can support and which would reach the root causes of underdevelopment such as infrastructure, manpower development, improving managerial capabilities, supporting recycled extensions, looking at the aspects and developing these aspects which will assure these countries of more reliable and sustainable production, for example, by developing irrigation systems.

The other partner in this field are the multilaterals, and my delegation feels that it is necessary for them to look at their mandates realistically and ask themselves, whether these mandates are still relevant to the problems, whether what was relevant 40 years ago is still relevant today and to come out openly and adopt approaches which are relevant and which do give developing countries or a recipient of aid, realistic support. Of course, different countries have got different constraints, and each approach has got to be particularly tailored to the needs of each particular country.

Now, to the recipients, there is no doubt that we have our own problems and that there are a lot of things that we have to do in order to create a correct climate for investment in agriculture and for improvement in food production and agriculture development in our country. There are aspects which deal with policy, commitment, development of infrastructure, communication, storage and developing marketing services, research services and above all, developing incentive prices which will encourage farmers to produce.

D. DE GASPAR (World Food Council): For the World Food Council, the reports prepared for the Eighty-sixth Session of the FAO Council are of great interest, in particular the two documents, the State of Food and Agriculture 1984 and Recent Developments in the United Nations System of Interest to FAO. Both documents merit careful attention by all concerned as the international community seeks resolution of global food problems. The first document, on the State of Food and Agriculture, is most welcome, as it represents a useful addition to the body of analysis which has sought to understand the changing nature of the world food problem since the 1974 World Food Conference. The FAO Secretariat is to be commended, in particular on its insightful review of the linkage between food and urbanization and migration.

As other analyses have suggested, this document places the food and hunger dimension in a broader context encompassing economic, social and environmental factors. Its conclusions suggest the continued precarious balance for many developing countries which are struggling to meet their food needs. This theme was central to World Food Council ministerial concern at its Tenth Session held this past June in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at which the World Food Council assessed the progress in the remaining problem areas for meeting the recommendations and objectives of the 1974 World Food Conference, as requested by the United Nations General Assembly. At that meeting, the World Food Council ministers recognized that the principal fear in 1974 of diminishing food supply globally, relative to population growth and hence rising food prices, had not been warranted. In fact, global food production has increased by some 3.2 percent annually, and even higher rates of growth were achieved by the densely populated countries which comprise four-fifths of the population of the developing world. Asia, in particular, with production increases of 3.4 percent annually has dramatically transformed its prospects for sustained higher levels of food production and development. This is a significant achievement which is due to priority investment in the application of scientific means to increase productivity and by the careful formulation and management of policies and price incentives which assist farmers. Yet, despite significant increases in aggregate food production and trade, chronic hunger and malnutrition remain a reality for hundreds of millions of people. Reaching the poor and destitute has proven to be a much more intractable problem than many imagined in 1974. Notwithstanding improved information on the geography of hunger and the various types and causes of malnutrition, there is still wide divergence of opinion on the short- and long-term way of helping the poor and the chronically hungry as well as on the policy conflicts and investment trade-offs that different approaches might imply. In general, however, the hungry are no longer seen as existing in isolation from their economic and social environment. Instead, it is now realized that the problems of hunger are closely linked to poverty and underemployment to land tenure systems and to the impact of changing technologies. The Addis meeting likewise attached major importance to the tragic and unrelentless dimensions of what has come to be termed the African food crisis.

Since the World Food Council first raised the alarm in 1980 about the deteriorating African food situation, the Council has called for greater donor/recipiei\t cooperation, increased external resources and improved trade opportunities as well as major policy changes by the African countries themselves. The present drought and famine situation has only compounded the difficulties of meeting the longterm policy and resources realignments. Therefore, despite many similarities in analysis between the World Food Council and that of the FAO Council document, there are certain areas that deserve further exploration and emphasis.

With regard to world cereal stocks, the World Food Council documents have placed considerable emphasis on the major policy problems surrounding the unmarketable cereal surpluses of the major food exporters

and the adverse effects of low international cereal prices on developing country food strategy and plans for the economies of developing countries exporters of grain. The World Food Council stressed the fact that low international cereal prices, not just high international prices, can mitigate developing country efforts to resolve their food and development problems. Secondly, with regard to food security arrangements, the World Food Council assessments stressed the potential resource conflicts in simultaneously meeting the food security needs of both consumers and producers and subgroups of them over both the long- and short-term. There are major policy conflicts and resource tradeoffs entailed in meeting the particular food security requirements of certain groups of citizens in any country. This point, in the World Food Council's view, has not yet received adequate attention heretofore in food security discussions.

With respect to food aid, the Council sought to highlight the use which programmed food aid could have for enhancing the national food strategy and food objectives of developing countries. Special attention has been devoted to focusing the application of food aid to ease the food price dilemma and the need to ensure adequate incentives to producers while simultaneously protecting low-income nutritionally vulnerable consumers. By the same regard, the 1982-83 decrease in multilateral concessional assistance for agriculture by 20 percent, as indicated yesterday by Professor Nurul Islam, suggests the continued and pressing relevance of the World Food Council Executive Director's proposal for a $1 billion food policy support programme over five years to further food policy adjustments in developing countries.

In reviewing the second document, Recent Developments in the United Nations System of Interest to FAO, the World Food Council is pleased to see the conclusions and recommendations of its tenth Session held in Addis Ababa annexed to this document. It should be nonetheless noted the particular interpretation found in paragraph 44 of the document regarding multilateral interagency coordination. The Council stressed that full-level coordination among assistance agencies was at the heart of the problem, and that this fundamental issue was complicated by the different objectives and policy orientations of the non-food agencies, including the financial institutions.

In looking to the future, the World Food Council ministers recognized that major hurdles must still be confronted by the international community in meeting the still valid objectives of the 1974 Conference. These tasks include sustained efforts by the developing countries in the implementation of their national food strategies designed to increase food production and improve access to food by low-income groups. More comprehensive policies and programmes are required which integrate hunger-reducing measures into the process of economic and social development. Use of food aid of developed countries producers to achieve long-term food self-reliance even as emergency food needs are being met, adjustment of developed countries' policies to reduce trade protectionism and the instability of financial and commodity markets affecting developing countries' objectives and ensuring adequate and reliable food imports, increased development assistance for the least-developed countries, particularly in Africa, and improved coordination and management of international assistance efforts. It was in these terms that the World Food Council called upon the international community to review its commitment to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by the end of the century. The ministers affirmed that hunger can no longer be blamed solely on humankind's inability to produce enough food. Hunger today is largely a man-made phenomenon Human error or neglect creates it, human complacency perpetuates it, and human resolve can eradicate it.

N. ISLAM (Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Policy Department): We are very grateful for the various comments and suggestions made by the distinguished delegates which will enable us to improve and expand the analyses and the statistical information in the expanded version of the State of Food and Agriculture which will be published later. I will confine my replies to a number of questions, not necessarily covering all the phases of the important questions raised in the course of the debate.

One question a number of delegates have referred to related to the possible inconsistency between paragraph 14 and paragraph 15 of the main document. Paragraph 14 relates to an analysis of the impact of the growth of industrial economies on the exports and growth in developing countries. The example given there is an hypothetical example dealing with the impact of a certain percentage change in the industrial countries' growth on the developing countries. This analysis is based upon a number of assumptions which have not been spelled out in that short paragraph. Neither does this analysis predict what will happen nor does it say what has happened in the past. It is an analytical device on the basis of hypothetical assumptions. The main impact of growth in industrial countries, however, as indicated in this paragraph, is through an increase in the exports of developing countries, and secondly, to a possible impact on the flow of resources from the developed to the developing countries.

Now, in both these cases, the expected favourable impact may not materialize. Firstly, the response of exports of the developing countries depends on the nature of exports; the response of agricultural exports from developing countries to growth and industrial countries is weaker and slower than that of manufactured exports. Secondly, the impact could be uneven and amongst various developing countries. Agricultural exports of low-income developing countries, most of them, face stagnant demand and sometimes competition incentive substitutes. They respond much less than the other exports. Therefore,

aggregate analysis of the type mentioned in the paragraph does conceal significant differences in terms of impact of growth in industrial countries on the actual situation in developing countries. Moreover, the impact of growth could be offset by rising protectionism in the developed countries which restrict exports to developing countries and also, as had been emphasized in the subsequent paragraphs in the same document, by the impact of high interest rates, which by adding to the debt service burden of developing countries have resulted, as indicated there, in net outflow of resources out of the developing world to the developed world.

For example in Latin America, as many distinguished delegates have emphasized, the severe debt service burden has imposed upon them the need for drastic readjustment policies in the domestic economy, resulting in squeezing of domestic consumption, imports, rate of growth. So the complicated set of factors which determine inter-dependence between developed and developing countries has not been fully analyzed in this paragraph. We hope that in a fuller document these issues will be more clearly indicated.

As far as paragraph 57 is concerned that refers to an entirely different phenomenon. It describes how the agricultural exports - total world agricultural exports-havebehaved in the past, and how the share of developed countries and developing countries has developed over the years, and I would say the share of developed countries in world agricultural exports had increased. The factors responsible for this increase have also been described in the subsequent paragraphs. Therefore paragraph 14, as far as exports are concerned, refers to all exports. Paragraph 57 refers only to agricultural exports and their evolution over the last ten years. So from that point of view they are totally consistent. In fact, as the document emphasizes including the supplement, the improvement in the trade of developing countries shown in 1983 is only compared to the earlier 1982/83 because this is an annual review, so we have compared specifically last year 1982 with 1983. Now if you compare over a longer period; the situation is very different. For example, while the terms of trade of developing countries have, improved in 1983 compared with 1982, it still remains greatly depressed below the earlier years, especially 1979/80. Again the value of agricultural exports of developing countries, although registering an improvement in 1983 over 1982, is very much below the level of 1981 over all areas.

Comments have been made from the floor as to the inadequacies of treatment of various regions. Admittedly in this short version as you call it, mini so far, we have been unable to deal in detail with all the aspects of food and agriculture. In the full,version which is published later, we intend to have, as we have done in the past, fuller coverage of regional details.

We are very grateful to the distinguished delegates for their comments on our treatment of urbanization. Indeed, in dealing with this subject we have been drawing upon the work of other United Nations agencies including the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, as well as the United Nations Population Division, and in the more extended version and treatment of the subject in the later fuller version of the State of Food and Agriculture we will certainly take the various aspects mentioned with the distinguished delegates in mind.

Two questions have been raised on the issues of cereal stocks. First, is this concept of safe minimum level of cereal stocks 17 to 18 percent of annual consumption a still valid and appropriate one? This is an issue, a subject of constant review and discussion in the Secretariat as well as the various FAO Committees and fora. For example, we had a detailed discussion on this subject in the Ad Hoc Expert Consultation we had some years earlier on measures to meet acute and larger scale food shortages. This concept obviously is not without its limitations, but what it seeks to indicate is a number of features in one unified concept of stocks of cereals as a proportion of annual consumption. At a global level this concept has indeed been found useful. For example, it has been found that when the world cereal stocks fall below 17 to 18 percent of world annual consumption of cereals, further depletion of cereal stocks is associated with a rise in the price of cereals, the world price of cereals.

Secondly, the aggragate stock figure is not used in isolation. It has to be put in a proper context. Two features especially must be remembered: a) the composition of the cereal stocks, wheat, rice and other coarse grain. Depending on the composition, any impact on food security is different, but on the whole we have assumed that these crops are substitutable in consumption which is, of course, a limitation on this; b) I believe the geographical distribution of stocks is also relevant. When you analyze in any of our documents where they mention this aggragate ratio, we immediately also describe its composition and its geographical distribution, because geographical location does determine the ease of accessibility to stocks on the part of developing countries. If it is concentrated in one region of the world then it is not as effective for ensuring food security as if it is dispersed throughout the affected regions.

Therefore, in the absence of a better indicator we continue to use this, but this does not imply that we do not see the need to re-estimate the safe level of the stocks using more up-to-date data, and review the matters if necessary and examine the relationship between variations in world stocks and variations in world export prices. Work along these lines is already underway by the Secretariat.

The distinguished delegate of India asked a question about information on the current status of the South Asia food security reserve proposal. This proposal is now being considered by the FAO Regional Commission on Food Security for Asia and the Pacific Region, which reviewed it at its first session in 1983. The Commission felt that there were some further studies needed to be undertaken to work out some of the details of the proposal. Moreover, before further studies are undertaken there was a need to elicit the clear reaction of the countries concerned regarding the acceptability of such an idea. In the meanwhile the FAO Secretariat has planned to undertake a project for determining optimum national reserve stock levels as a first step in that direction.

I may mention here in this connection a Symposium on World Food Security which you had here earlier this year - this is in reference to a comment by a distinguished delegate as to the need of analyses on the impact of policies in both the developed and the developing countries on world food security. This symposium was attended by 13 experts from both developed and developing countries, people with considerable research experience in the area of world food security. They had clarified or deliberated on clarification some of the issues and the questions which were raised in the context of the Director-General's revised concept of world food security. Among the issues they had considered were precisely the concept of food reserves both national and international, as well as the role of food reserves in the context of promoting world food security. The concept of optimum level of reserves at the national level in the developing countries was also discussed in relation to the alternative of relying on trade as a means of stabilizing supplies and prices in developing countries. We hope to publish the papers presented to the symposium as well as the record of the discussions in the near future.

One additional question was asked about the International Monetary Fund food financing facility. Since its inception three and a half years ago five countries have made drawings under this facility for a total sum of about 475 million US dollars. The question therefore has been raised why, in view of the present and the last few years' food situation, why there have not been greater drawings from this facility. One reason is that the food grain prices in the international market have tended to decline since the facility was set up, thus one of the situations which the facility was intended to cope with, namely large increases in the import price of cereals such as occurred in the 1973-75 period, has not in fact arisen. However, one might ask how is it that given the temporary shortfalls in many countries in domestic food production that drawings have not been more widely spread.

The most important reason it seems to us is that the cereal financing facilities of the International Monetary Fund is combined with another facility which is in fact part of the bigger facility, compensatory financing facility for export shortfalls. Now if a member opts for this scheme, that member cannot switch back to the original well-established compensatory financing facility, at least for three years. As a consequence, when it opts for this scheme it runs a certain risk of diminished drawing for compensation in the event of future adverse fluctuations in its export earnings. One way obviously of meeting the situation is to delete both the schemes. The International Monetary Fund will be carrying out a review of this scheme next year because it was originally established for four years. So the Board of the International Monetary Fund will now take a decision on a) whether to continue the scheme, and b) whether any modification is necessary. We¿in the Secretariat, hope to do a further analysis on the experience with this scheme in the past few years, and we hope our analysis will contribute to the process of a review by the International Monetary Fund.

CHAIRMAN: I think we have had nearly seven hours of discussion on this item and I want to thank the 40 delegates and observers who have made contributions. I would like to join all of them in congratulating and thanking the Director-General, Dr Saouma, Dr Islam and all their colleagues for the balanced and perceptive survey of the State of Food and Agriculture presented in CL 86/2 and CL 86/2 Sup.l. It is neither necessary nor possible to highlight or summarize many of the points made by the delegates, but nevertheless I would like to touch on one or two items.

First, it is obvious that delegates from several developing countries have rightly stressed that external constraints leading to a net outflow of resources from their nations have limited the possibility of harnessing the needed capital for the modernization of their own agriculture. Rising cost of debt servicing, adverse balance of trade, deteriorating terms of trade with regard to the produce farmers sell and the goods and inputs they purchase, are all negative factors and have been referred to. Therefore the agriculturally less advanced nations face the dilemma of having to increase farm productivity without having the resources to invest on rural and farm infrastructure and development. From my own travels I find this is a very crucial problem, the inadequacy of capital for the modernization of agriculture. Unless a solution can be found, productivity will continue to stagnate in may of these nations. There are many examples known to distinguished delegates here to show that even a small help to small farmers by way of more favourable input and output pricing policies often triggers great progress.

Delegates have also stressed that emphasis on external constraints does not mean that urgent attention is not needed to the removal of the internal constraints through appropriate Government policies at home. In this context the Harare and Buenos Aires Declarations have been referred to frequently and they both point out the need for developing countries to adopt policies which can promote growth and self-reliance coupled with social justice. Several delegates have also forcefully brought out the need for greater attention to input security and to the principal factors of production, particularly to water harvesting in rainfed areas and scientific water management in irrigated areas. Reference has also been made to the need for preparing value added products from all parts of plants and animals, through the adoption of modern techniques of biomass utilization and bioconversion, thereby helping to generate greater opportunities for employment in rural areas. We all know that history teaches us that a significant improvement in the standard of life occurs only when a part of the labour force is withdrawn from the routine operations of farming and deployed in agro-industrial and industrial pursuits. The need for the symbiotic development of agriculture and industry on the one hand and rural and urban areas is hence obvious, and has been rightly stressed by several delegates.

The Chairman of the Group of 77, the distinguished delegate of the Philippines, wanted me to deal specifically with the prospects for improving productivity through low input technology. Inputs are needed for output and therefore the term ‘low input technology’ can be misleading. What, however, is implied normally by this term is not the reduced application of inputs like nutrients but altering their source, as for example, the substitution of purchased mineral fertilizers with home-grown ones.

It is in this context that nitrogen fixed in the soil through the Azolla-Anabaena symbiotic association, to which the Chairman of the Group of 77 referred, assumes importance. This source of nitrogen addition needs water and has been used by farmers in China and Viet Nam for centuries. The Philippines has a large programme in areas where the phosphorus content of the soil is adequate to sustain Azolla growth. Among other biological sources of nitrogen are blue green algae, free living bacteria in the soil, green manures and the inclusion of grain and fodder legumes in the rotation. All these sources can add enough nutrition to sustain a 3 to 4 ton per hectare crop. Higher yields than this will need the addition of mineral fertilizers. Hence, we should promote an integrated nutrient supply system involving organic recycling, biofertilizers and mineral fertilizers. I would like to mention in this context that the International Winged Bean Institute, established in Sri Lanka, to which FAO has extended support, is planning to initiate a programme of research for the improvement of several perennial legumes which can provide fuel, fodder, feed and fertilizer.

Reference has been made by some delegates to the urgent need for bridging the yield gap prevailing in many countries in major food crops. Where water is available and nutrients can be supplied in needed amounts, about 7 to 8 tons of cereal grains can be harvested per ha.per crop.

If we take this as the ultimately feasible national average yield at currently available levels of techonology, countries can be divided into four major groups based on the size of the gap between potential and actual yields: Group 1 countries, practically no yield gap, in other words already the average yield is over 6 to 7 tons; Group 2, 25 percent gap; Group 3, 50 percent gap; and Group 4, 75 percent or more. Only a multi-disciplinary constraints analysis can help to reveal the precise constraints responsible for the gaps and their relative importance. Ecological, technological, socio-political, institutional and economic constraints all play a part - the precise contribution of each of these major groups of constraints may vary from country to country, and in large countries from region to region within the country. The undertaking of such a study will be helpful both in determining priorities in investment and in the choice of strategies for development. We all know that in many developing and densely populated countries there is no option except to produce more food from less land in the future. The pathway of exploitative agriculture leading to the mining of soil fertility will yield short-term gains but will spell long-term doom. We need to follow a middle path, often referred to as ecological agriculture. Scientifically, this middle path usually adds the term 'integrated’ before such aspects of crop management like pest control, water management and nutrient supply. Such integrated systems require group action and cooperation on the parts of numerous small farmers. Social engineers and developmental administrators will therefore have to work out the public policy measures such as group insurance and other group incentives; needed to stimulate and sustain cooperative action among farmers living in a village or watershed or command area of an irrigation project in protecting the health of the plant and in promoting the care of the soil. Such a path of agricultural development alone can help us in achieving the desired productivity gains without long-term harm to terrestrial and aquatic productivity.

Several delegates have emphasized that all this can be accomplished only if the supreme consideration in our work is human happiness. Mahatma Gandhi in my country asked over 50 years ago all those in charge of formulating development projects to ask themselves whether the project they are about to initiate will make any change in the life of the poorest segment of the population. The Minister for Development Cooperation of Norway forcefully restated this principle today. I see in the deliberations on this Agenda item seeds of hope and I thank you for this.

4.1 The food situation in Africa
4.1 Situation alimentaire de l’Afrique
4.1 La situación alimentaria en Africa

CHAIRMAN: This leads us logically to what I consider to be the most important of the items before us. We are fortunate enough to have the Director-General himself to introduce this topic.

LE DIRECTEUR GENERAL: Monsieur le Président, Messieurs les Ministres, Messieurs les Ambassadeurs, Mesdames, Messieurs les délégués, Mesdames et Messieurs,

Dans mon allocution d'ouverture, je vous ai tracé les grandes lignes de la situation alimentaire en Afrique. Permettez-moi d'y revenir plus en détail.

Certes, les autres régions ont elles aussi leurs problèmes et leurs besoins et nous ne saurions les oublier. Mais en Afrique, qui d'entre nous oserait le nier, c'est d'une véritable tragédie qu'il s'agit. Non seulement la situation n'a guère de chance de s’y améliorer dans un avenir proche, mais tout porte à croire qu'elle s'aggravera encore l'an prochain.

Comme Pindique le document dont vous êtes saisis, la récolte a de nouveau été mauvaise en Afrique australe-en Angola, au Botswana, au Lesotho, au Mozambique, en Zambie et même au Zimbabwe.

Il est maintenant certain que la récolte principale de 1984 qui aura bientôt lieu en Ethiopie sera désastreuse et que par conséquent la situation alimentaire de ce pays restera très grave l'an prochain aussi. A la detnande du Gouvernement éthiopien, j'ai envoyé une mission d’évaluation des récoltes qui se trouve présentement dans le pays. Elle est dirigée para M. Dalton, un expert de nationalité américaine. Ses termes de référence sont très spécifiques et limitées à fournir la meilleure estimation professionnelle possible de la récolte de décembre 1984, c’est-à-dire la récolte principale en Ethiopie. Bien qu'il soit trop tôt pour avancer une évaluation quantitative, la mission m'a confirmé hier à travers M. Dall, mon représentant en Ethiopie ici présent, que la prochaine récolte en Ethiopie sera très pauvre à cause des pluies tardives ou trop faibles, et cela même dans de nombreuses régions traditionnellement excédentaires. Certains estiment que la récolte sera d'un tiers inférieure à la moyenne. En vérité, une sombre perspective pour 1985. J'aurais souhaité que M. Dalton soit ici pour vous faire directement rapport.

La situation paraît d'ailleurs si grave que M. MacPherson, administrateur de l'USAID, de retour d'Ethiopie, vient de déclarer à la presse que les besoins en aide alimentaire pourraient ne pas s'élever à 500 000 tonnes de céréales comme déjà annoncées, mais bien à près d'un million de tonnes.

Au Kenya, à la suite de la pire sécheresse que l'on ait connue depuis bien des années, la récolte principale de 1984 sera sans doute inférieure de près de 40 pour cent à celle de l'an dernier.

Dans les pays du Sahel, la récolte en cours s'annonce beaucoup moins bonne que l'on espérait il y a quelques semaines encore. Dans le nord de ces pays, on signale un peu partout de très mauvaises récoltes et la production globale risque encore d'être inférieure à celle de l'an dernier qui avait déjà souffert de la sécheresse. Les perspectives sont particulièrement inquiétantes au Burkina Faso, au Mali, en Mauritanie, au Niger et au Tchad.

Sur la base de chiffres encore préliminaires, la FAO estime aujourd'hui que 21 pays d'Afrique devront faire face à de graves pénuries alimentaires en 1985 et qu'ils auront besoin au total de plus de 4 millions de tonnes d'aide alimentaire, soit, au bas mot, un million de tonnes de plus qu'il n'en a fallu cette année à l’ensemble des pays africains frappés par la crise.

A ce propos, permettez-moi d'ajouter quelques precisions sur nos evaluations des besoins. Elles sont l’aboutissement d'un travail très minutieux accompli dans le cadre du système mondial d'information et d'alerte rapide de la FAO auquel participent une centaine de gouvernements ainsi que la CEE et diverses organisations internationales. Les informations proviennent de sources très diverses. Nous utíiísons les données commoniquées par les systèmes nationaux d'alerte rapide, par d'autres services des pays concernés et par le personnel sur le terrain de la FAO et du PAM. Les données agrométéorologiques sur les zones vulnérables, en particulier sur le Sahel sont régulièrement analysées pendant la campagne agricole. Nous avons également recours aux images transmises par satellite. En cas de crise majeure, l’OSRO organise des missions multidonateurs ou des missions FAO/PAM qui établissent une évaluation plus détaillée.

Nous tenons compte aussi des prix, des taux de fret et des besoins nutritionnels de la population qui sont très différents selon que ce sont des enfants, des personnes adultes ou des personnes agées. Les besoins d'aide sont calculés à partir non seulement du volume de la production, mais aussi de la consummation et des stocks qui existent dans le pays et sur la base de comparaisons avec les années antérieures. La capacité d'importation commerciale est un des éléments clés.

Nous lançons une alerte spéciale chaque fois que les approvisionnements sont menacés dans un pays donné. Pendant la saison des pluies nous distribuons tous les dix jours aux donateurs traditionnels d'aide alimentaire des rapports spéciaux sur la situation alimentaire et l'état des cultures dans le Sahel. C'est une routine: chaque dix jours, on envoie des rapports, dans les cas vraiment critiques. Nous diffusons aussi régulièrement d'autres informations. Enfin, nous nous attachons particulièrement à aider les pays à mettre en place des systèmes nationaux ou régionaux d'alerte rapide au moyen de crédits extra-budgétaires.

Quant à l’exactitude de nos évaluations, je me bornerai à dire que c'est précisément là où il y a le plus gros écart entre la réponse des donateurs et nos estimations des besoins que la famine tue le plus. Je pense en particulier à l'Ethiopie, où pour diverses raisons l’assistance n'a pas éte fournie assez tôt, ni en quantités suffisantes. C'est un fait, je ne critique personne, c'est là la réalité, on pourrait en dire autant du Mozambique et du Tchad.

Je ne prétendrai certes pas que notre système mondial d'information et d'alerte rapide soit parfait. Loin de là et bien au contraire. Je tiens beaucoup à l'affiner et à le perfectionner de façon notamment à pouvoir répondre aux besoins de secours d'urgence qui je le crains persisteront inévitablement en Afrique en 1985 et au-delà. Nous présenterons un document sur ce système au Comité d'aide au développement de l'OCDE qui doit se réunir ce mois-ci.

Nous avons aussi l’intention d'organiser à Rome, en février prochain, une consultation technique avec les organismes donateurs pour améliorer les méthodes d'évaluation et la diffusion de l’information qui est vitale, qui est cruciale, pour prévoir les situations critiques et pouvoir agir à temps. En avril, le Comité de la sécurité alimentaire, qui se réunira dans cette salle, réexaminera l’ensemble du système. Je ferai tout pour renforcer ce système d'ici la fin de l'exercice et dans le cadre de notre prochain Programe de Travail et Budget.

Un système d'alerte rapide est évidemment inutile s’il ne déclenche pas des réactions immédiates. C'est pourquoi, nous transmettons le plus vite possible l’alerte à la communauté Internationale. Hélas, aussi solide que soit la base de nos évaluations, les premières alertes que J'ai lancées et les initiatives que j'ai prises, des le début de 1983, à propos de l’Afrique ont été accueillies par certains avec scepticisme.

Le groupe d’action spécial FAO/PAM, pour l'Afrique a été constitué en avril 1983 et j’ai lance mes premiers appels à la communauté internationale en mai et juin de la même année. En octobre 1983, j’ai convoqué une réunion de haut niveau de représentants des donateurs et des pays sinistrés, ici à Rome, puis j’ai adressé un appel à l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies, où je me suis rendu fin octobre. Enfin, en novembre 1983, j'ai organisé à Rome une réunion officieuse des ministres et des hauts fonctionnaires des pays donateurs à l’occasion de la Conference de la FAO; celle-ci a adopté à ce sujet la Resolution 83/1.

En décembre 1983, mon représentant a assisté à Londres à la réunion du Comité de l'aide alimentaire du Conseil international du blé, pour appeler l’attention sur la crise alimentaire africaine et lancer un appel à l’aide. Au début de 1984, j'ai envoyé deux représentants personnels de très haut niveau dans les capitales des pays donateurs, qui sont allés en Europe, dans les pays nordiques, dans d'autres pays occidentaux; ils sont allés aussi en Asie pour alerter les gouvernements sur la situation très grave que traversait l'Afrique et pour essayer de mobiliser davantage d'aide pour la relance de l’agriculture de ce continent.

Entre temps, le groupe d’action spécial a continué à publier ses rapports de situation. Voici le Numéro 6, que vous avez sûrement déjà vu.

En février 1984, le Secretaire général des Nations Unies et moi-même avons convoqué une réunion conjointe à New York pour alerter toutes les délégations. En avril 1984 j’ai signalé la détérioration de la situation alimentaire en Afrique australe. En juillet 1984 la Conférence régionale de la FAO pour l'Afrique a naturellement fait une place toute particulière à ce problème et a adopté la Déclaration de Harare.

II ne suffit pas de renforcer le système d'alerte rapide ni de réagir immédiatement quand il donne l'alarme; il faut aussi que l'aide alimentaire puisse arriver rapidement dans les zones sinistrées. A ce sujet, j'ai demandé qu'un point concernant les mesures à prendre pour accélerer la livraison des secours alimentaires d'urgence soit inscrit à l'ordre du jour de la prochaine session du Comité des politiques alimentaires (CPA). Je crois comprendre que le Directeur exécutif exposera ses idées sur les problèmes logistiques lors de cette session. J'espère pouvoir bénéficier pleinement de son appui et de son concours dans ce domaine.

J'ai appris avec une grande satisfaction que les Etats-Unis avaient décidé en juillet 1984 de mettre en place des stocks alimentaires dans des zones vulnérables. J'en suis d’autant plus heureux qu’il s'agit d'une mesure que je préconise depuis longtemps. Puissent les autres donateurs suivre cet exemple, et en particulier la CEE. Un tel dispositif permettrait de faire parvenir les secours à ceux qui en ont le plus besoin beaucoup plus rapidement qu'en passant comme aujourd'hui par des ports et des aéroports encombrés.

Je reste aussi convaincu qu’il faut accroître la Réserve Alimentaire Internationale d'Urgence. Il est vrai qu’en 1984, les contributions à la RAIU ont dépassé de 8,8 pour cent l’objectif de 500 000 tonnes fixé par l’Assemblée générale en 1975. Il faut s'en réjouir, mais il n’en reste pas moins que ces ressources sont encore très insuffisantes pour répondre aux seuls besoins de l’Afrique cette année et presque sûrement en 1985.

Le mois dernier j’ai lancé un appel pour mobiliser des contributions supplémentaires à la RAIU. Certains gouvernements ont déjà promis - et je les en remercie - 50 000 tonnes de plus pour le restant de 1984, mais je continue à espérer que d’autres contributions supplémentaires seront fournies dès cette année et en tous cas l’an prochain. J’espère aussi que les gouvernements voudront bien réexaminer ma proposition antérieure de porter l'objectif de la RAIU à 2 millions de tonnes à fournir sur demande.

A propos de la crise alimentaire en Afrique, je ne saurais non plus passer sous silence l’effort à faire dans l'immédiat pour relancer l’agriculture et l’élevage, pour s’attaquer aux causes du problème. Il est impératif de donner aux ruraux les moyens de relancer la production vivrière durant la prochaine campagne et de protéger contre la maladie le cheptel qu’il leur reste; pour beaucoup de pays c'est la richesse principale. Je parle de certains pays du Sahel, de la Mauritanie en particulier. Le sixième rapport de la situation du Groupe d’action spécial FAO/PAM, qui a récemment été soumis aux donateurs, montre à quel point leur aide est indispensable dans ce domaine.

Il faut agir sur deux fronts. Envoyer de l’aide alimentaire et aider à relancer l’agriculture des pays africains. Puissent les pays donateurs agir en consequence.

En ce qui concerne l’Ethiopie j’ai reçu la semaine dernière la visite de M. Dawit Wolde Giorgies, Commissaire pour les secours et le relèvement des zones sinistrées. Il venait des Etats-Unis. Il est venu me voir après avoir rencontré M. MacPherson. Nous avons surtout parlé de ce dont l’Ethiopie a besoin pour la réorganisation de la reprise de l’agriculture dans les zones de réinstallation afin d'éviter l’éternel retour des crises.

En ce moment, la priorité des priorités est, bien sûr, l'aide alimentaire d’urgence. Mais, étant donné que la récolte de 1985 s'annonce fort mal, nous devons dès maintenant penser à plus long terme. J’ai done décidé de monter une mission en Ethiopie, à laquelle j’espère que des représentants des pays donateurs accepteront de participer, afin d’évaluer les besoins d’un demi-million de victimes de la famine qu’il faut réinstaller.

Il s’agit d’une réhabilitation de l’agriculture. Il s'agit de faire démarrer et d’intensifier l’agriculture dans des zones où il y a des réfugiés venus du nord qui se trouvent là, sans travail, sous des tentes. Et il y a des sols disponibles. La mission doit quitter Rome ce vendredi et passera environ deux semaines là-bas. Je me rendrai aussi moi-même en Ethiopie à la fin du Conseil.

Cette mission pourrait déboucher sur un appel international de contributions, suivi d'une réunion de donateurs que je pense convoquer à Rome vers le 20 décembre.

Des mesures analogues de réorganisation et de relance seront sans nul doute nécessaires dans les autres pays africains les plus touchés; ils auront surtout besoin de moyens d’irrigation et de forage, de semences, d'engrais, de pesticides, de machines agricoles et d’infrastructures de base.

Seule une aide extérieure massive pourra permettre de couvrir ces besoins. Je ferai de mon mieux pour la mobiliser. Toutefois, nous devons aussi faire un effort particulier dans le cadre de notre Programme ordinaire. Je suis done en train de procéder à un réajustement de nos activités - en réaffectant une part de nos ressources budgétaires, à concurrence de 5 millions de dollars - afin d’aider les pays où, selon le Groupe d’action spécial, la relance de l’agriculture et autres mesures de redressement sont les plus urgentes. Ceci s’appliquerait à un ensemble de pays africains.

Bien entendu, j’en rendrai compte en tant que de besoin au Comité du programme et au Comité financier ainsi qu’à la prochaine session du Conseil. Je suis sûr que vous m’apporterez votre appui sans réserve.

Monsieur le Président, la crise alimentaire actuelle de l’Afrique aussi aiguë soit-elle, ne doit pas détoumer notre attention des problèmes structurels qui en sont la cause profonde. Il est plus que temps de s’y attaquer.

Ces problèmes structurels sont de quatre ordres - techniques, sociaux, économiques et politiques. La solution à leur trouver variera d’un pays à l'autre.

Par ailleurs, tout le monde reconnaît que c’est avant tout aux pays eux-mêmes qu'il incombe de résoudre leurs problèmes alimentaires à long terme. Les ministres africains réunis pour la treizième Conférence régionale de la FAO pour l’Afrique ont été très clairs à ce sujet.

Dans la Déclaration d’Harare, ces ministres s'engagent à adopter des politiques plus efficaces pour le développement du secteur alimentaire et agricole et à veiller à une meilleure utilisation des ressources par les pouvoirs publics.

Malheureusement, quand il s’agit de réaliser leurs programmes, les gouvernements se heurtent à de graves obstacles techniques et financiers qui ne peuvent être surmontés avec les seuls moyens nationaux. La communauté internationale tout entière doit participer au combat pour l’autosuffisance alimentaire de l’Afrique.

L’Afrique demeure done, en cette période de crise, la priorité numéro un du Programme de travail de la FAO. Près de la moitié des dépenses de l’Organisation lui sont consacrées. En outre, comme je l’ai annoncé à l'ouverture de cette session, la FAO va mettre en chantier, à l’intention de la Conférence régionale pour l'Afrique de 1986, un examen détaillé des causes profondes de la crise alimentaire de l'Afrique et des moyens d'y remédier.

En conclusion, je voudrais une nouvelle fois rendre hommage à la générosité des gouvernements des pays donateurs - la plupart sont représentés ici - qui ont foumi et continuent de fournir une aide d’urgence à l’Afrique.

Je n’hésite pas à leur demander, pour l’immédiat et à plus long terme, de faire encore un énorme effort en axant davantage leurs programmes d’aide bilatérale sur le développement du secteur alimentaire et agricole et en appuyant les activités de la Banque mondiale, du FIDA et de la Banque africaine de développement dans ce domaine.

Pour ma part, je puis leur donner l’assurance que la FAO s’efforcera sans relâche de faire plus et mieux, à la fois directement et en coopération avec les Etats Membres ainsi qu’avec d'autres organisations du système des Nations Unies.

Nous devons tous nous attaquer à ce gigantesque problème de l'Afrique, si possible ensemble, dans un effort à la fois intense et de longuè haleine. Autrement, nous nous enfoncerons, jusqu'à franchir les bornes de la résistance et de la compassion humaines, dans l'horreur dont témoignent affreusement les images du martyre de l’Afrique.

Monsieur le Président, je vous remercie.


CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Director-General. You have certainly set the tone for our subsequent discussion. I request those delegates who will be participating in the discussion to lay emphasis on points of action rather than merely restating the situation prevailing today. The more action points which can be brought out, the more helpful will it be.

T.R. PODA (Burkina Faso): Joignant la voix du Burkina Faso à celle des pays ici représentés, notamment la brillante intervention du président du Groupe des 77, la délégation burkinabé salue et apprécie hautement votre nomination à la présidence de la 86ème session du Conseil de la FAO.

Notre délégation tient également à féliciter les trois vice-présidents pour leur nomination.

Avertis de l’importance des questions à traiter, vous saurez sans doute, avec la collaboration de tous, mener à bien les travaux de la présente session. La délégation Burkinabé ne ménagera aucun effort pour y apporter sa modeste contribution.

L’ordre du jour ainsi adopté comporte des questions d’une importance, capitale pour des centaines de millions d'hommes, de femmes et d’enfants. Il s’agit done de la situation mondiale de l’alimentation et de l’agriculture, des activités de la FAO et du Programme alimentaire mondial, ainsi que du Programme d’action de notre Organisation, situation dépeinte de la façon la plus concise mais aussi la plus expressive possible par le Directeur général, M. Edouard Saouma, allocution que nous apprécions beaucoup, et nous tenons à lui présenter nos félicitations.

Cette année encore plus de 600 millions d’êtres sont menacés de disparition. Ce sont les laissés pour compte dans un monde miné par l'égoïsme mais aussi et surtout par les volontés politiques de certains pays qui se réclament de grandes puissances civilisées; il s’agit de pays préoccupés plus par la course aux armements et aux sphères d’influence que par la souffranee des peuples. Ici, à la FAO, nous devons représenter les "sans voix" et toutes leurs aspirations légitimes. Nous devons mettre toute notre énergie et toute notre intelligence au service de la lutte des peuples qui, chaque jour, dans un monde de plus en plus austere travaillent à effacer de la planète la faim, si justement qualifiée par le Directeur général de la FAO, de "lèpre" qui défigure la civilisation du vingtième siècle.

Pendant de longues années, et aujourd’hui encore, des millions de regards se sont tournés et se tournent vers la FAO pour attendre un soulagement dans une conjoncture alimentaire extrêmement difficile. Pendant de longues années la FAO a su, par des "SOS" lancés çà et là, répondre partiellement à leur. attente: mais l’équilibre de l'acrobate qu'est la FAO devient de plus en plus fragile car sous-tendu par des pays et des organisations qui, malgré leur bonne volonté, se trouvent confrontés aux questions de certains de leurs contribuables qui supportent mal de voir l'aide s’éterniser aux dépens de leur portefeuille. Equilibre également fragile parce que le système du profit ne sfinquiète pas de produire pour tous mais seulement pour ceux qui ont les moyens. Ne voit-on pas encore de nos jours détruire des milliers de tonnes de vivres et museler le niveau des productions pour préserver la stabilité des marchés?

Equilibre fragile enfin, parce que les solutions aux problèmes de la faim dans le monde préconisées par les organisations internationales n?ont pas toujours associé les principaux intéressés. C'est pourquoi nous exhortons la FAO a être, aujourd’hui plus que jamais, à l’écoute des masses paysannes et ouvrières qui savent désormais identifier leurs problèmes et qui très souvent n’ont besoin que d’un simple catalyseur pour assumer leur propre développement et se passer de l’aide qui, dans certains cas, blesse leur dignité et compromet leur souveraineté.

Une redéfinition des formes d’intervention de la FAO devient alors nécessaire.

Au Burkina Faso, depuis l'avènement de la Révolution nous avons résolu de confier au peuple la construction d'une société nouvelle basée sur la confiance en soi, la dignité retròuvée, la justice et la recherche de la paix universelle. Dans ce pays de sept millions d'âmes, hommes, femmes et enfants organises initient et édifient chaque jour des chantiers dans tous les secteurs de la vie socio-économique.

Au Burkina Faso, nous avons placé la confiance en notre peuple. Nous voulons que la FAO, toutes les organisations internationales et tous les pays se convainquent que le peuple Burkinabé est désormais capable de construire les "fondements matériels de son avenir". Les expositions de différents produits faites à l’occasion de la quatrième Journée mondiale de l’alimentation ont confirmé une fois encore les capacités réelles des Burkinabé.

Engage dans la construction d’une économie autosuffisante et planifiée avec le peuple, le Gouvernement pose chaque jour des actes concrets qu’aucun régime de l’ex Haute-Volta n’a osé poser. Il s’agit par exemple de la réforme agraire, mesure indispensable pour octroyer les terres cultivables aux masses laborieuses. Il slagit également de llengagement pris à travers le programme populaire de développement où un accent particulier a été mis sur l’agriculture afin d’amener tous les fils du pays à investir, d'ici fin 1985, un capital humain et financier de plus de 160 milliards de nos francs, et nous fondant avant tout sur nos propres ressources, entre autres la force et la capacité de production des masses populaires burkinabé. Ce programme populaire de développement sera suivi d'un plan quinquennal couvrant la période 1986-90.

Comme le disait le capitaine Sankara, Président du Burkina Faso, à la Tribune des Nations Unies récemment, notre ambition économique est d'oeuvrer pour que le cerveau et les bras de chaque Burkinabé puissent au moins lui servir à inventer, à créer de quoi s'assurer deux repas par jour et de l’eau potable.

Nous nous devons toutefois de reconnaître que nous avons le poids de 23 années de néocolonialisme et aussi l’adversité de la nature que nous devons vaincre à tout prix. La sécheresse née de la désertification compromet nos cultures. Cette année notre déficit céréalier sera de l’ordre de 160 000 tonnes sur une estimation globale de 600 000 tonnes pour l’ensemble des huit pays du Sahel. C'est pourquoi il faut par des programmes cohérents et intégrés attaquer le mal à sa racine: en même temps que nous allons chercher l'eau dans les profondeurs souterraines pour la survie des masses rurales et du bétail, nous nous engageons dans un vaste programme de reconstitution de notre couvert végétal. La reconstitution de l’environnement est essentielle pour les pays sahéliens. Dans ce cadre la FAO a un rôle très important à jouer car l’agriculture, pour être rentable, doit s'appuyer sur une terre meuble et seul le eouvert végétal est à même de lui offrir cette garantie. C’est done la condition sine qua non - à l’instar de celle de l'eau - pour le développement de l’agriculture. En cela nous saluons déjà l’initiative de la FAO qui se propose de faire de 1985, l’année internationale de la forêt. Que le monde entier puisse saisir cette occasion pour méditer sur le devenir d'une planète sans arbres, mais que les Sahéliens et tous ceux qui sont touchés par le fléau de la désertification mettent en terre un plant chaque fois qu'il leur est possible de le faire. Nous devons mettre fin à la précarité de notre écosystème que certains pays veulent utiliser pour perpétuer une politique cynique et criminelle tendant à placer les pays nécessiteux dans une situation pérenne de mendicité. Nous disons non à cela; oui à la politique qui, faut-il le leur rappeler, doit nous aider à nous passer de l'aide.

Nous insplrant de la declaration de Harare nous apportons notre appui à l'établissement d'un programme d'action de sécurité alimentaire pour l'Afrique. Nous appelons de tous nos voeux le démarrage de la campagne panafricaine de lutte contre la peste bovine et assurons le Directeur général de l'appui ferme du Burkina Faso pour toutes les initiatives qu'il aprendra dansce sens. Le Burkina Faso partage de tnanière globale la déclaration de Harare sur la crise alimentaire en

Afrique et plus particulièrement son point qui, parlant des pays africains, indique "nous réaffirmons notre détermination de prendre en main notre destinée et de jouer le rôle qui nous revient au plan national et international".

Nous devons faire en sorte que chaque jour qui se lève soit un pas vers un avenir meilleur. Pour ce faire, nous devons unir tous nos efforts pour combattre la faim et les affameurs des peuples.

ASSEFA YILALA (Ethiopia): First of all, like all the other previous speakers, I would like to express my congratulations and good wishes of success in the deliberations of the Eighty-sixth Session of the Council to you, Mr Chairman, your Vice-Chairmen and other members of your convening body. I would also like to seize this opportunity to thank the Director-General of FAO, Dr Saouma, for bringing the drought situation and extreme food shortage problems of Ethiopia to the attention of the international community once again. His remarks on Africa have a greater and foremost priority as an indication of concern, for this is a major problem facing our planet today. This is encouraging and a support to the efforts that we are making in our respective countries in saving the lives of hungry people at this very grave moment.

The Ethiopian delegation would like to indicate its appreciation for the presentation of both the previous paper and the paper that was presented in the afternoon by Dr Edouard Saouma. The various aspects of the State, of Food and Agriculture were duly considered in these presentations.

Since August 1984, when these reports were released, the state of food and agriculture has not shown any better signs of improvement at all. Instead, it has become worse and a cause for hunger and suffering for millions of Africans. The food aid requirement has increased due to the inadequate rains in the month after August.

At this point, I would like to draw your attention to the situation in Ethiopia with a view to explaining this grave situation. In accordance with a report released by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission of Ethiopia, the number of people to be affected with food shortages in 1985 is estimated at about 7 million, requiring over 1.2 million metric tons. This food aid requirement is as much as what was estimated for the whole of Eastern Africa in August.

Because of the increased shortages in food supplies and.because of the magnification of the problem, most of the developing countries have channelled their meager resources to the distribution and supply of food in those affected areas, thus leaving very little or none to the development of other sectors.

As you all know, agriculture is the main occupation of Ethiopia, with over 85 percent of its population engaged in it at a subsistence level. The drought that affected many African countries had its worst blows on Ethiopian agriculture both in 1983 and 1984.

The small rains in 1983, which were normally of importance to 20 percent of agricultural produce, failed. The big rain, which is of importance for the remaining balance of agricultural produce, started late and stopped early, as was reported by Dr Saouma.

The food shortage that we observe in Ethiopia today is mainly the effect of the failure of the small rain in the latter part of 1983 and inadequate rainfall during the main production season of 1984. The effect of the failure of rain has caused suffering and hunger to over seven million Ethiopians today.

To reduce some of these food shortage problems, a national committee composed of members from the highest government bodies was established. Under this national committee, 12 committees are also organized for the different functions of the emergency relief operations and short-term agricultural measures.

For relief operations: distribution of food crops, encouraging the participation of people and farmers’ organizations, improving the efficiency of its agricultural marketing cooperations and the importation of additional food, either through purchase or through donations, is in operation.

For short-term agricultural production: resettlement schemes where climatic conditions are favourable for crop production, encouragement of all people to participate in vegetable production in the backyards and available fallow land to supplement the food shortages, and distribution of seeds, fertilizers, implements and oxen for plowing are all being monitored by these committees in collaboration with the effective implementing agency.

At this point whatever assistance is coming from other sources would get the full support of this committee thus organized. Thus, a maximum effort is being organized by the government and people of Ethiopia. The prevailing food shortage crisis is beyond the means and resources available. Agriculture being the main source of any foreign currency and with the failure of crops this year, the importation of farm implements and farm inputs is also becoming difficult.

A harsh drought has also affected the livestock population, thus reducing plowing capabilities, while the need to get assistance on food crops becomes priority number one, considering ways and means of seeking solutions with the objective of enabling Ethiopian farmers to produce their own food.

At this point, we would like to support the Director-General's idea of sending a high-level delegation to study the conditions of settling the farmers, enabling them to produce food as much as possible.

We are also appealing to all members of this session to bring this grave situation facing Ethiopia today to the attention of all, using whatever forum is available to wield their united arm to solving our existing problems.

J.D. SANDY (Sierra Leone): Mr Chairman, it is indeed a pleasure to see you guiding the affairs of this Council together with you distinguished Vice-Chairmen. I wish you well. I would also like to say to the director-General that his thought-provoking statement was to a large extent disturbing, particularly when drawing our attention to the food situation in Africa and specific areas. On behalf of my government and myself, we pay tribute to his concern and his untiring efforts to help us alleviate our poverty. He has mentioned in no uncertain terms that he will focus and give priority to African agriculture and livestock. We commend him for that.

1 also wish to pay tribute to Dr Islam for his critical appraisal of the agriculture and food situation in the world. The people of Africa depend upon agriculture now, and they will do so for the foreseeable future. Our agricultural production has to expand if we are to survive. It has to expand faster if we are to lift ourselves out of our present poverty and provide for all our people the basic material requirements of human dignity and real freedom. Equally, agricultural expansion has to be directed to meet our needs. I will have to depart a little from rhetoric. We all know the constraint imposed on agricultural development in Africa: protectionism, trade barriers, pricing policy, social and political problems - I need not go over that; those are all well-known to us.

Apart from those constraints, there are one or two points which I want to bring to the attention of the Council and to FAO. I think this is the right time for me to do it. If I do not do it, I may not have time to say it before I leave. As much as we are concerned about the constraints imposed on our development of agriculture, we of the African continent do not pay lip service to development in agriculture. What I want to bring to your attention is the disbursement policy of financial agencies. Now that I am speaking here, most financial agencies have suspended disbursements to my country because they say we have failed to pay our service charges. This is a critical area which gives us some concern. Just at the peak of our planting season, we always get telexes from these Financial Institutions that disbursement will be suspended if service charges are not met. Just at that time when the enthusiasm is at its height, farmers disbursements are suspended because service charges of about 6 000 or 3 000, have not been paid and these withdrawals may persist for about 2 months. At that time, we cannot move. The counterpart funds provided given by government are used to pay staff, and we depend on the agreement we have concluded with Financial Agencies for remittances to be made for us to meet the farmers and give them credits, and give them inputs. And when that is lackingfor two months, you know exactly what happens. We have four months in which we have to do all our preparations and planting. If we took two months out of that, it means they have frustrated our efforts, and if we have any failure this year, it is because of the disbursement policy adopted by Financial Organizations.

I will appeal to you and your colleagues if you can prevail on thera to review their disbursement policies. This has given us some concern.

Now that we have been warned of drought, I want to draw the attention of FAO that we in Sierra Leone would seek simple and small irrigational projects conducted in our swamps. We shall be conducting our workshop on swamp development from the 26th to 30th of this month in Sierra Leone. I will not be there because I am here. But one of the points which I asked my officials to bring to the notice of participants is that we have been warned by drought; this year we have less rain. We should begin to focus our attention on small irrigation projects rather than still continue to depend on rainbed crops. I would like the Council to take note of that.

I would like finallly to thank you for giving us this opportunity to tell you, our constraints in agricultural development. We think the Organization can still continue to assist us to eradicate hunger and poverty, and enhance our earning capacity, enhance our dignity and freedom. Let us act to build Africa. I appeal to the Organization for more funds, for them to continue to help the African continent.

H.M. MBALE (Malawi): May I ask your indulgence to allow me to make a brief statement regarding the depressing food situation in Africa. However, before doing so, I would like to join speakers before me in thanking the Director-General for the excellent conference arrangements and documentation and for extending the invitation to the government of the Republic of Malawi to attend this Council. I wish also to thank the government and the people of the Republic of Italy for the warm welcome and hospitality my delegation has received since its arrival in this historic and beautiful country. May I also thank you for conducting the deliberations so far so well. I have no doubt that this will continue. At the same time, I also wish to congratulate the three Vice-Chairmen on their election and trust that they will assist you in conducting the deliberations of our Council.

Now, if I can go to the topic which the Director-General has introduced this afternoon, the food crisis in Africa. The regrettable and deplorable food crisis is a well-known phenomenon to all members of our Council in recent years. Indeed it has attracted hasty international attention and even action in the form of food aid to affected countries. While this approach is appreciated, namely to respond to sudden food crises and shortages, deplorably it does not address itself to long-range food self-sufficiency of a country. To complement food aid, action must be taken now to address those areas in the food production system that would achieve and sustain increased food production. The principles of self reliance as embodied in the Harare Declaration and the policy of food self-sufficiency as outlined by His Excellency, the Life-President of Malawi, Dr H. Kamuzu Banda, who is also Minister of Agriculture, must be fully appreciated and supported by the international community and multilateral organizations, if Africa is to be pulled out of its present humiliating and degrading predicament. The unhappy situation in Africa has arisen because of many factors including the following: - increasing desertification, persistent drought, shortage of trained manpower, high prices of inputs, low prices of agricultural products in the international market -for example sugar, inadequate linkage between agricultural research and agricultural extension, and one area, Mr Chairman that I would like to emphasize very much, perhaps to give it as an example as a need in African agriculture today, is lack of sufficient research information in soil classification, appropriate fertilizers for these soils, rainfall patterns and suitable crop varieties for the areas. In many areas of the agricultural systems the small-holder farmer is often left to fend for himself without the necessary support from government services. If these gaps in essential agricultural information can be filled I believe that a lot can be achieved in the quest for increased agricultural production, given favourable weather conditions.

If you would allow me to make just one or two points in so far as my country is concerned, the food situation in Malawi. As it has been stated, many countries on the continent of Africa are facing food shortages of crisis proportions. Malawi, on the other hand, has been spared this harrowing experience although it has had its share of persistent droughts which have become common occurences in Africa in recent years, and we have just heard from our colleague from Sierra Leone that the rains have come out of turn in his country. In spite of droughts, Malawi has remained self sufficient in food. This happy situation has been achieved because the Government of Malawi accords a very high priority to the sufficient food supply, so much so that the country must remain self sufficient under any circumstances by policy. The Government emphazises the need for diversification and the diversified food base means that all known food crops must be grown in sufficient quantities.

However, this does not mean that Malawi has no problems. It has many, the main one being transport. Being land-locked the country suffers from slow movements of its exports and imports. This often results in insufficient supplies of inputs and other essentials. In turn these slow down the development of the country.

Finally, I wish to stress the need for our countries to pay increasing attention to the following areas: developing irrigation potential, developing agro-industries, establishing fertilizer plants in our regions, reorganizing our agricultural research and extension strategies, improving the quality of life in rural areas by creating employment opportunities and necessary social amenities. This list can be extended by all colleagues here.

KONG CANDONG (China) (Original language Chinese): The very important statement made by the Director-General just now on the African food situation clearly explains the severeness of the African food problem and also shows how great the attention is given by FAO and Dr. Saouma to the elimination of hunger and malnutrition.

We have learned from the introductory statement made by the Director-General that some countries of the African continent are suffering from consecutive severe drought. Their food production and supply availability are deteriorating. A great number of victims are threatened by hunger and starvation which cannot but cause our deep uneasiness and concern.

The Chinese People had experienced similar misfortunes as is being experienced by the African people. The Chinese Government and People therefore deeply sympathize with the African People. Though China is a very low-income and economically less developed country, it is willing to increase its assistance to those African countries within its ability. Ever since this year, the Chinese Government has decided to commition several occasions a total of 80 000 tons of emergency food assistance for disaster relief to the disaster stricken African countries, to show its sympathy and her support to the fraternal African people. We would also like to appeal to the international community to strengthen cooperation, make joint efforts and take urgent relief measures, to help the African People to get rid of hunger and poverty as soon as possible, and to support the development in a big way.of agricultural and food production. We are convinced that the African People are able to speed up their development of agricultural production and solve their food problem by relying on their own efforts, coupled with the support of the international community.

C. SUPSARN (Thailand): First of all, on behalf of my delegation, I wish to express my pleasure, at seeing you in the Chair again and would like to congratulate the three Vice-Chairman for their election.

My delegation, as always, finds the Secretariat’s review of the current world food situation a very useful and factual analysis, providing a setting for the work of the Council which is required to focus on those of its functions which relate to the general policy of the Organization, including obviously the world food agriculture situation.

Today we are meeting at perhaps the most difficult period of this decade with the food crisis in Africa. As we have learned from the document before us and from the Director-General’s introductory statement that, despite recent improvements in some countries, the food supply situation in much of Africa continues to be difficult. There are many countries in Africa which still face acute food shortages. While my delegation is most concerned about their extremely serious situation, we are happy to note with satisfaction the timely step taken by the Director-General of FAO in establishing FAO/WFP Task Force as well as the appeals made to donors for more assistance as indicated in paragraph 95 of document CL 86/2. We also agree with the point indicated in paragraph 100 of the same document that rehabilitation and post-emergency measures are also required to restore agricultural production and help prevent recurring food crises in countries prone to drought. In this connection, my delegation would like to appeal to donor countries to support the projects covering such a measure.

It is also gratifying to note that FAO is continuing to assist many African countries in establishing and developing an early warning system as well as preparing contingency plans for famine relief distribution, as indicated in paragraphs 58 and 60 of document CL 82/2 Sup-1.

In conclusion, my delegation strongly supports the Harare Declaration and considers the Declaration an important instrument for the attainment of self-reliance in Africa. We see that proper and appropriate emphasis and priority is highly placed on agricultural and rural development.

My delegation sees that no matter how good and strong the will of this Declaration is, it will not be an easy task to accomplish unless the Declaration is given full support by international organizations, the donor countries as well as the non-governemental organizations. To this end, my delegation wishes to give unqualified support to the efforts being made by FAO to help the African countries to attain that noble goal.

M. ABDELHADI (Tunisie): Ma délégation a écouté attentivement la déclaration du Directeur général de la FAO sur la situation alimentaire en Afrique. Je voudrais saisir tout de suite cette occasion pour le remercier et lui exprimer tout l'appui de ma délégation à ses appels réitérés en vue d’alerter la communauté internationale et à ses nombreuses initiatives pour les drainer vers les pays africains touchés par la crise les aides nécessaires.

La situation alimentaire mondiale est dominée par la crise alimentaire aiguë que connaissent actuellement plusieurs pays africains. En effet, et comme le souligne le document idoine qui nous est sounds, I’Afrique demeure en 1984 et même en 1985 source permanente de préoccupations. D'ailleurs il n'est pas étonnant que le Directeur général ait de prime abord commencé sa déclaration hier en évoquant la tragique situation alimentaire en Ethiopie.

A cet égard, ma délégation estime que la communauté internationale, d’ailleurs sensibilisée par les nombreux appels du Directeur général de la FAO, du Secrétaire général de l’ONU et des autres organisations internationales, devrait prendre davantage conscience de la gravité de la situation. Les aides devraient être accrues afin de pouvoir sauver des vies humaines. Cela relèverait de l’“assistance à personnes eh danger avec ce que cela implique sur le plan de la conscience et de la responsabilité collective de la communauté internationale.

Ceci dit, la Tunisie appuie et appuiera toutes les initiatives de la FAO tendant à court, à moyen et long terme à lutter contre la faim dans le monde et notamment dans plusieurs pays africains.

Le document soumis à notre réflexion appelle de la part de ma délégation un certain nombre d’observations et commentaires.

Premièrement, ce document ne nous donne pas l’impression que la crise alimentaire qui frappe actuellement l’Af rique tendeà s'atténuer dans un avenir plus ou moins proche. Au contraire, il est affirmé au paragraphe 48 du document CL 86/2, Supp.l, et le Directeur général l'a d'ailleurs confirmé tout à l’heure, que la crise alimentaire africaine se poursuivra en 1985 et pour cause, les récoltes de 1984 ont été médiocres dans plusieurs pays africains et les cultures attendues dans les pays du Sahel sont fortement détériorées.

Deuxièmement, l’aide alimentaire promise par les pays donateurs a atteint actuellement le chiffre de 2,7 millions de tonnes, alors que les besoins d’aide ont ëté estimés tout à l’heure par le Directeur général à 4 millions de tonnes. Il y a en conséquence un manque qu'il serait urgent de combler. Qu'il me soit permis à cet égard d'exprimer la vive reconnaissance et la considération de ma délégation pour tous les pays donateurs qui, dans un élan de solidarité internationale, ont contribué justement à atténuer tant soit peu cette crise. Toutefois, une aide accrue indispensable devra être mobilisée par les donateurs pendant les mois à venir.

Troisièmement, ma délégation est convaincue que l’aide alimentaire en quantité suffisante, ainsi que des approvisionnements par l’intermédiaire des circuits commerciaux n'auraient pas l’impact voulu s’ils ne sont pas accompagnés de mesures énergiques de nature à resoudre les problèmes logistiques dans les pays africains. Il y a en effet la capacité limitée des ports d'acceuil, le mauvais état des routes, le manque d’entrepôts et les moyens de transport qui sont autant de facteurs limitant l'efficacité de l’aide, d'où il importe au plus haut point d'améliorer la logistique de ces pays.

En conséquence nous estimons extrêmement important que, i) les pays donateurs prévoient des mesures correctrices pour les fournitures de moyens logistiques de manière à rendre leur aide plus efficace; ii) que la gestion des installations logistiques soit améliorée par les pays intéressés eux-mêmes; iii) éviter que les expéditions vers les zones touchées soient coordonnées dans l’espace et dans le temps.

Les causes de la crise alimentaire en Afrique sont maintenant connues de tous grâce à la FAO, grâce au rapport du Groupe d’action special FAO/PAM.

Le paragraphe 105 du document CL 86/2 a donne un résumé concentré. Il s'agit de la sécheresse, de la récession mondiale, du désordre intérieur, de la carence de l’infrastructure, du manque de personnel qualifié, des politiques inaptes à promouvoir le développement rural, etc.

Il importe, et comme l'a précisé le Directeur général tout à l'heure, de s’attaquer aux causes du problème. Le document CL 86/2 Sup.l dans ses paragraphes 57 à 66 consacre justement à ce suiet une partie des possibilités d’action pour promouvoir la reprise rapide et la remise en état des zones sinistrées. Ma délégation adhére aux propositions de la FAO et à son contenu, notamment celles relatives à la mise en place d'un système alimentaire rapide á l’échelon national et régional, à la fourniture de semences de culture vivrière, et enfin au soutien technique et international de l’élevage dans ces pays.

Il s’agit là d’un certain nombre de réflexions sur la situation alimentaire en Afrique que ma Délégation a tenu à formuler. En tout état de cause les ministres de l’agriculture lors de la réunion de la dernière conférence régionale de la FAO pour l'Afrique au Zimbabwe ont été unanimes à reconnaître que l’autosuffisance alimentaire constitue pour les pays africains un objectif prioritaire; et ils sont résolus à prendre en main leur propre destinée. Il s'agit là d'une déclaration où les ministres africains ont affirmé et réaffirmé leur confiance en la FAO et au Directeur général. Ma délégation est convaincue qu'elle ne restera pas lettre morte et que les pays africains affronteront l’avenir avec résolution et courage.

Je voudrais enfin formuler l'espoir et même la conviction que la déclaration que vient de prononcer tout à l'heure le Directeur général et ses appels nombreux et pathétiques en faveur d'une assistance accrue à l'Afrique, trouveront dans les délais les plus rapprochés possibles un large écho favorable auprès de la communauté internationale qui est tout entière impliquée dans cette affaire.

A.K. OSUBAN (Uganda): The Director-General in his introduction of this subject was concise and precise to the point. The problems of the food crisis in Africa have been studied by various agencies and have been discussed in many fora but most of these discussions have centred on issues pertaining to constraints prevailing at the material time, with little or no attention on debating ways and means of implementing concrete plans of action for increasing food production.

We believe that those of us assembled here are duty-bound, under the present crisis, to come out with a clear positive line of action of how we will tackle the problem of increased food production.

My delegation believes that, in the first instance, radical reorientation of national development strategies, coupled with high zeals of political will on the part of our governments, will be required to effect the appropriate measures of increased food production. This intent of political will and conviction to self-reliance was manifested by the African Ministers of Agriculture in the famous Harare Declaration.

In our opinion, for the long-term solution of food production in Africa, concerted efforts are required in the following areas: manpower resources development in areas of training, research, delivery systems and institutional development. The importance of availability of trained local manpower at all levels for agricultural development cannot be overemphasized. In this respect, the governments will have to enhance their retentive incentives in order to avoid a brain drain of trained manpower. We commend the Director-General for having produced a study on the assessment of trained agricultural manpower in Africa.

The next point of focus is irrigation. Given the unreliability of rainfall, heavy dependence on rainfed agriculture cannot offer sufficient food security. The delegate of India yesterday, and many others today, informed us how irrigation has played a major role in increasing food production in their countries. Probably this is an area where TCDC would be explored. We are aware that in many developing countries large scale capital intensive irrigation projects would compete for the scarce resources; we therefore recommend the development of small-scale irrigation schemes which could suit smallholders and are more feasible and easy to implement.

The third area is research and technology, My delegation would recommend that adaptive action-oriented research and improved technologies be pursued to develop crops which could fit the smallholder's farming system and techniques in the different countries. Here we have in mind prospects for increasing productivity of the basic staples in our various countries, including maize, millets, sorghum, cassava and tubers which constitute about 60 percent of the staples in Africa but which have had the least technical packages which could be extended to farmers. We note that the proposed new major study on Africa, by FAO will focus on these food crops on aspects of increasing their yields and improve their nutritional quality and on implication for national government and the donor community. We therefore endorse this study in the belief that it may come out with concrete and realistic practical solutions.

The next area is livestock disease control. International and technical support is needed to effect programmes of disease control.

Last but not least, we are of the view that the subject of agrometeorology has not been given its due emphasis in the Africa Region. Crop forecasting and early warning systems depend very heavily on an efficient, reliable system of agrometeorology. In this regard we fully endorse paragraphs 58 and 59.

These are among the areas we believe need urgent attention to effect increased production.

In conclusion, let me once again thank FAO for the tremendous work it is doing to promote increased food production; we give special recognition to the various efforts and initiatives of the Director-General in alerting the international community and mobilizing assistance for Africa.

G.P. KHOJANE (Lesotho): Taking the floor for the first time, let me first tell you how happy my delegation is to see you in the Chair. We believe that your well-known qualities will enable you to bring the deliberations of this Council to a successful conclusion. These remarks also apply to all members of your bureau.

In taking the floor it is a great pleasure for me to address this Council on this important issue of the critical problem in Africa. The problem has been very ably exposed by the Director-General and fully described by the many other delegations which have spoken before me. My delegation wishes to put on record its appreciation for the efforts of the Director-General of FAO in making the world community aware of this critical problem and the subsequent action to try to contain the situation.

Many lives have been saved as a result of emergency food supplies provided by the world community. Lesotho as one of the 22 countries seriously affected by the prevailing food shortage in Africa has benefited from the assistance given by the international community in response to the appeals made by the Director-General.

The pathetic food situation in Africa is a result of several factors among which are persistent drought, population growth and ignorance. These factors are not new, but it is the magnitude of the effects that is new. Not only are the people and land going to waste and extermination but the remaining individuals are on the brink of losing hope. This sense of futility must be stopped forthwith. It is with this background in mind that my delegation calls for greater emphasis in action programmes designed to improve food security both in long- and short-terms. In the short-term supplies of food aid is save lives. In the long-term great emphasis is to be placed on the production of food. In this context harnessing of water resources for irrigation, training of personnel and farmers should be given priority. My delegation notes with great appreciation the work which FAO has undertaken in Africa on these issues. However, what is now required is to initiate action programmes to implement the recommendations. Africa has land, water and human resources to implement irrigation schemes, and what is lacking is the know-how and necessary investment. The political will and commitment of the African governments have been demonstrated in the Lagos Plan of Action and most recently in the Harare Declaration.

In the wider context my delegation further calls for population management policies as part of the food problem. The population growth rate, rural/urban migration, are issues which, though outside the scope of agriculture, complicate food requirements. To this end my delegation calls for greater cooperation and coordination among the United Nations agencies in order to improve the socio-economic plight of the poorest of the poor.

J. TCHICAYA (Congo): La délégation de mon pays souhaite remercier le Secrétariat de la FAO pour nous avoir permis, grâce à un document fort approprié, d'étudier la grave situation alimentaire que traverse I'Afrique, et les calamités auxquelles elle doit faire face.

Qu'il nous soit permis ici d'exprimer toute notre reconnaissance au Directeur général de la FAO pour avoir si souvent alerté l’opinion mondiale et mobilisé ainsi les élans de solidarité visant à inciter la communauté internationale à drainer le maximum de ses ressources à la région sinistrée.

L'Afrique est sur la sellette depuis déjà quelques années. Les dirigeants de cette région eux-mêmes ont collectivement pris conscience de la gravité de la situation et des sombres perspectives qui en découlaient. Le Plan d'action de Lagos a été la parade pour enrayer toute velléité de disette qui guette notre continent depuis quelques années déjà. Nous nous réjouissons de la contribution de la FAO pour traduire en objectif de production ce plan, par l'entremise de son assistance aux gouvernements de la région dans la définition des stratégies nationales d'autosuffisance alimentaire. Les efforts intérieurs et extérieurs devraient done consister à réunir des moyens financiers techniques et humains pour mettre en oeuvre ces stratégies.

En effet, nous considérons toujours pour notre part que la meilleure aide est celle qui nous aide à nous passer de l'aide comme l'a dit tout à l'heure le ministre du Burkina Faso, et à créer les conditions de coopération entre pays, basées sur le principe des avantages réciproques et d'égalité. Nous concevons done l'aide d'urgence octroyée à I'Afrique comme une assistance limitée dans le temps, même si elle doit se renouveler en raison de la répétition des causes qui la motivent.

A cet égard, nous sommes satisfaits de la large diffusion que la FAO a faite de la déclaration de Harare où les décideurs de la politique agricole des Etats africains ont solennellement reconnu que l’autosuffisance alimentaire était l’objectif premier qu'ils s'efforceraient d'atteindre en comptant avant tout sur leurs propres forces. L'appel lancé en direction des pays développés pour qu'ils leur apportent l’appoint indispensable est justifié par les contraintes auxquelles se heurtent les économies de leurs pays, qui sont largement exposées dans le document soumis à notre examen. Ces problèmes auxquels se heurte I'Afrique sont complexes et doivent être examinés et résolus dans leur globalité et de manière intégrée. Toute tentative parcell·aire d'aborder ces questions est vaine et inefficace. Mais disons que I'Afrique est confrontée à un problème de l’insuffisance de productions vivrières. Cette insuffisance est elle-même consécutive à un niveau d'investissements dans l’agriculture encore trop faible; mais comment peut-elle s'y prendre si elle doit tout à la fois faire face à des importations commerciales massives de denrées alimentaires, et investir pour accroître sa capacité de production agricole, sans oublier le service de la dette!

Voilà des secteurs qui tous exigent des sorties de devises qui, comme nous le savons, font défaut à tous ces pays à deficit vivrier et à faible revenu.

Dans l'état actuel des choses, la plupart, sinon tous les pays africains, ne sont guère préparés à recevoir une aide alimentaire d'urgence massive en raison de la quasi-inexistence de structures de stockage et de conservation sans oublier les moyens de transport qui constituent des facteurs limitants non négligeables. Cependant l'aide urgente étant une nécessité absolue pour sauver des vies humaines, les donateurs doivent être invités à contribuer à lever ces goulots d'étranglement. Il importe pour cela que des études soient faites sur chacun des pays pour recenser ce qui doit être fait pour apporter sans encombre l'aide alimentaire d'urgence aux groupes cibles. Cela est d'autant nécessaire que la FAO nous dit qu'il s'agit de situations qui ne sont guère éphémères et qui vont continuer encore à nous préoccuper dans un avenir prévisible. La délégation de mon pays appuie toutes

les initiatives de la FAO visant à prendre des mesures pour promouvoir la reprise rapide et la remise en état des zones sinistrées dès que les conditions redeviendront favorables et en cela nous sommes d'accord et encourageons ce qui est préconisé dans les paragraphes allant de 58 à 66 et avec les commentaires qui ont été formulés par le délégué de la Tunisie tout à I'heure.

Enfin l'Afrique serait condamnée si nos partenaires de la Communauté internationale n'étaient pas attentifs à notre appel et se limitaient à agir seulement pour faire face à des situations ponctuelles d'urgence qui l’amèneraient à considérer cette région comme déversoir permanent des surplus agricoles. Nous pensons au contraire que l'Afrique doit jouer un rôle plus dynamique et participer en tant que partenaire aux relations économiques internationales. Nos craintes sont grandes devant le fléchissement des montants des engagements publics à l’agriculture. De même nous nous inquiétons de la diminution de la proportion de ces engagements attribués à des conditions de faveur, et à cet égard la situation que connaît le FIDA nous préoccupe et cela d'autant plus que le FIDA semble tout indiqué pour contribuer au développement des pays d'Afrique.

Nous sommes d'avis que I'heure est à I'action. Nous pensons que toutes les études nécessaires existent ou sont en cours d'être achevées. La seule question qui se pose à présent est de savoir où trouver les ressources pour créer les conditions d'un accroissement approprié de la capacité de stockage de production, de conservation et de distribution des denrées alimentaires.

Nous sommes certains que les institutions financières internationales comme le FMI, si pressées d'accorder des facilités d'accès au crédit à l'Afrique du Sud raciste, sauront apporter leur plein appui aux peuples qui souffrent et dont l'accès à la nourriture est fundamental.

Pour terminer ma délégation tient à exprimer sa gratitude au Directeur général pour sa sollicitude envers notre région et espérons de tout coeur que ces nombreux appels susciteront des réactions appropriées conformes à la dimension de l'ampleur de la situation qui prévaut à présent en Afrique.

A.M. QURESHI (Pakistan): First of all, my delegation would like to extend it heartiest felicitations to the Director-General for his all-embracing statement bearing on the tragic food situation in Africa. We would also like to congratulate the Secretariat for their most comprehensive situation reports on Africa. This special focus on Africa shows the gravity of the situation on this continent and the highest priority accorded to it by the Director-General of FAO. Through you, Mr Chairman, we pledge to the Director-General our whole hearted support to the initiatives he has taken and is taking to alleviate the grave situation of hunger in Africa.

The statement of the Director-General graphically depicts the appalling picture of grave human tragedy taking place in Africa. ït emanates from his deepest concern for the famished, for the hungry, for the destitute, for the dying in parts of Africa. It is heartening to note that his passionate appeals for succour to the international community have met with success and that t thousands of precious human lives have been saved from tragedy. But I think there is a long way to go. In the words of Robert Frost:

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
I have promises to keep
And miles -to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep"

Africa is beset today with natural calamities, with man-made disasters which have only added to this cruelty being perpetrated on Africa. Growing protectionism, deep economic recession, decline in external assistance to the agricultural sector, higher interest rates, decline in export earnings, balance of payments problems and the intractible debt crisis have added to the misery. It is painful to note that despite some improvements in some countries in western Africa, a large number of African countries will continue to face food emergencies throught 1985, while the situation in Ethiopia and Chad has now assumed critical proportions.

Hence, there is an urgent need for continuing emergency assistance to those countries. World food and agricultural production will be the second highest in the last 25 years and world crop production will be one of the best in the last decade. Cereal production will achieve a new record in 1985, but unfortunately, due to uneven distribution, there will be oases of plenty in deserts of shortages which only mean a difference between life and death to so many. It is not a challenge to our conscience that on the one hand there are mountains of plenty and on the other, part of mankind continues to meet fateful death because the hand that is most in need cannot reach out to where the food is? The shadows of famine accentuate the tribulations of Africa.

Emergency assistance must be stepped up to save the dying from death. But we should also think of long-term measures on which heavy reliance can be placed to enable Africans to stand on their own feet so that they can combat drought and desertification and do away with the wasteful death of thousands of precious human lives. They say if you give a man a fish he will have one meal, but if you teach him how to fish he will eat all his life. We should think seriously of longer term

measures to improve the lot of Africans as underlined by the Director-General, to promote not only rapid recovery and rehabilitation of the affected zones but also to extend assistance to develop self-reliance where necessary. Many measures in this regard have been spotlighted this afternoon. We also fully endorse the recommendations of paragraphs 57 to 66 of document CL 86/2-Sup.1.

Ours is an interdependent world. It is our confident hope that we can build a better and more beautiful world if the required political will can be mustered. The long, dark night of suffering must come to an end in Africa. My delegation wholeheartedly shares the vision of the Director-General, and his new frontiers of hope and optimism in creating a golden age in which famine is unknown and hunger an exception. For the attainment of this objective we must work together in complete harmony and unison, one and all, no matter where we are, and whatever our task may be.

I would like to mention that Pakistan in some modest way is contributing its share to the alleviation of hunger and the promotion of food security in part of the world, and will continue to do so in the future.

J.D.L. RICHARDS (New Zealand): My country recognizes the extent of the problem of world hunger on a global scale and acknowledges the responsibility of the international community to respond to desperate human needs. Given the gravity and scale of the problem in Africa, it is only right that the main focus of attention should be there. Many African countries face drought, famine and disaster which have undermined living conditions and threatened the survival of whole communities. In many countries, the present emergency is overwhelming the hard won developmental efforts of several decades.

The present crisis in Africa imposes a severe test on the international community. Because conditions are so grave, it is all the more vital that a coordinated response be forthcoming. It is gratifying that we are now witnessing this response in Ethiopia, the concerted effort needed to help the countries most affected to protect their people and to get back on the road to development. The United Nations system through FAO, the special relief agencies and WFP has an important role to play in the humanitarian relief process. Many donors with substantial programmes of development cooperation in Africa have moved to consolidate their assistance. Multilateral agencies, the development finance institutions, the UN agencies and non-governmental groups, both religious and secular, have adjusted their priorities to meet these new needs.

New Zealand welcomes these new initiatives to focus more attention on Africa. New Zealand also recognizes the need for adequate mechanisms, both at the international and the national level, which can respond quickly and efficiently to food shortage crises in low-income, food-deficit countries. New Zealand is a major exporter of primary products but the nature of our terrain is such that traditionally most of this trade is in livestock products to such an extent we often have to supplement our grain production with imports. Our major commodity production is not much sought after for emergency food aid. We have found that the most effective assistance we can give in this context, expecially in relation to the needs of Africa - which is a long way away from us - is through the contribution of cash grants through establided multinational channels such as WFP, occasionally earmarked for specific purposes. Therefore, we have made grants this year to the UNHCR and we have made a grant recently to WFP for emergency drought relief. The public in New Zealand is also aware of the suffering and the need, and like ordinary people in many other countries, is responding outside the framework of government action.

New Zealand has found from its own experience in development assistance that the most effective aid is that which contributes to the growth of production capacity of a developing country, thereby increasing its wealth and enabling it to make its own improvements in social infrastructure. In this creation of wealth the role of the small farmer is a key one. New Zealand's development cooperation programmes have always emphasized the need for the small farmer to receive increased attention in the allocation of development expenditure and in establishing research priorities and production incentives.

In the task of rebuilding the agriculture of drought-ravaged African countries we believe that these considerations will have to be taken into account. If it does not seem presumptuous to say so, it is gratifying to note the terms of the Harare Declaration in this connection. I am sure that the Declaration and its implications will be studied with some interest by the authorities in New Zealand.

J.D. AITKEN (United Kingdom): As this is the first statement by the United Kingdom I would like to add my welcome to those previous delegations gave to your chairmanship and to say how fortunate we are to be able to draw upon your counsels and guidance during the course of our meeting. May I also add that as well as those qualities which one expects from a chairman, you also display a valuable, deep, expert knowledge of the problems of agriculture in the developing world which I am sure is of great benefit to us all.

May I begin by welcoming the positive tone of the opening speech by the Director-General. I will refer to this later, but I should preface my remarks by saying how welcome and how sensible we found many of the elements of his statement. In common with many other countries outside the African continent, I would like to stress that the Government and public of the United Kingdom are considerably concerned over the problems of Africa. We are anxious to help in every way we can. Equally, I hope that it will be felt that my remarks are not simply those of an outside expert, but are comments from someone who has had experience of development in Africa and who has worked with African farmers. I have a great appreciation of and respect for the way they face their problems; I also appreciate the problems facing the various governments and civil servants in that continent.

My comments then come in two parts. First of all, I will make some general comments about problems in Africa, secondly, I would like to propose a role for FAO particularly in relation to the drought-stricken countries. In any discussion on Africa I think it helps quickly and briefly to look back over what has happened during the last decade. We think that in the early 1970s both donors and governments misread the strenght of the fragile economies in Africa. So far as agriculture was concerned, governments, often without any other source of revenue, taxed agriculture through artificially depressing producer prices to subsidize development plans in other sectors, for example, industry. We now realize that the results were often disastrous - falling agricultural production and very often developments in other sectors which were very unsatisfactory. We can all think of loss-making industrial plants, or irrigation systems which will demand subsidy. At the same time, inefficient marketing boards and government intervention often damaged production and discourage growers. For their part, donors financed large infrastructure projets which the African economies could not support. And the donors did not provide recurrent costs. A common theme in those days, was, "We will build the hospital; you will find the drugs and the money to pay for services". Governements themselves were overwhelmed by demands for more projects, more development from their people. Governments had to respond. At the same time, donors pressed those governments with more projects and more paperwork to support their own programmes. The result was often a collapse of management and administration within the recipient governments which in turn had a damaging effect on agriculture and the ability of the country to produce. And all this time the population was rising - more children, more pressure on health care, more pressure on schools and, more serious, more pressure on the fragile land, often leading to the breakdown of traditional farming methods and the steady increase of the urban landless and dispossessed. In many countries this pressure, coupled with the harsh climate, has produced a stark landscape of erosion. Fly over Africa today and one can see that the soil has washed out into the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic, inland there is often bare rock. These problems have been discussed many times before and I apologise for reiterating them. Nevertheless I feel we should to just this, to try and put into a serous context what we are talking about.

So where do we go from here? The first thing that my Government - and I am sure others - emphasize is that external assistance will not be effective unless African governments themselves adopt appropriate policies which encourage agricultural production. We cannot stress this too strongly - the necessity for governments to adopt appropriate policies. In this connection we also very much welcome the practical realism of the Harare Declaration and the recent statements by the OUA in Addis Ababa.

We often talk about appropriate policies, and perhaps it may be helpful at this point to give some examples of the sort of things that we consider are important and significant. There is no uniqueness about this, it is not concealed wisdom. They have been widely publicized in such important documents as the World Bank’s Programme for Accellerated Development in sub-Saharan African and many other documents. All the experts, both African and outside the continent, seem to be agreed that one very important factor is to increase producer prices and give rewards to farmers. Make living in rural areas a more acceptable, more pleasant and a better, more worth-while life for people. It was very gratifying yesterday to hear reports from the distinguished delegated of China and India of the great increase in agricultural production in their countries which had come about through recent policy changes and reforms. Those of us who are aware of what is happening in those countries are also aware that one of the key features in both cases has been increasing producer prices, giving more rewards to farmers.

To follow this we urge governments to abolish inefficient marketing boards and government intervention agencies which skim off revenue and lose money. Where agencies skim off the money, the producer suffers. This surely cannot be a wise way of organizing the market. In fact, even "organizing" the market begs some questions, and there is certainly an argument for free markets in agricultural goods within Africa.

Another issue which cannot be ignored is land tenure and the need to adopt policies which give small farmers security and an incentive to produce more than just enough to feed their families. Governments can help too by strengthening rural economy, by encouraging improved marketing and agro-industries. This was brought out by the delegate of Malawi in his intervention.

It is necessary to encourage proper soil conservation methods, especially reafforestation. Also, improving the production of marginal lands by adapting research and bringing better methods to farmers. Here other developing countries can help. There are techniques and methods in the subcontinent of Asia and Latin America which relate to the provision of water and dry land farming which have the promise of benefitting Africa. There is an important role here for technical cooperation between the developing countries and we noticed that the FAO publication Sharing Experience for Progress has some very interesing ideas on this which could be developed. Finally, and probably most important of all, governments really will have to come to terms with introducing effective family planning programmes. I will not dwell on the statistics. What I will do is refer you to this FAO publication, Land, Food and People; and the projections that are contained in it and the very serious problems that will be faced at the end of the century when Africa's population rises to over 780 million. Governments have to do something about this or all other efforts will fail and the land will deteriorate.

Now, I have spoken about policies by governments, but we also recognize that along with this there, must be action by donors, and we would commend to donors as part of their policies and actions to support appropriate policies within the developing countries. We very much urge donors to have a dialogue with the recipient country about policies in the context of greater donor/recipient coordination. Again, we consider coordination to be a very important element in the effective use of development assistance. Donors have to consider grand projects very carefully. We want no more "cathedrals in the desert". Donors, too have to rethink their policies and direct efforts not to new projects but to rehabilitate the existing infrastructures, the roads, telecommunications, transport, etc. They also have to be prepared to adopt programmes which build institutions and develop the skills of people. It is necessary here to pay particular attention to developing management skills both within farming and within government, and accounting skills.

While we would not dissent from any of the comments made this morning by New Zealand about having a balance between food production and importing, in very vulnerable economies where there is no ready source of foreign exchange, we would hope that the donors would recognize the importance of food production, and here I would refer to the European communities' Food Strategy programme in four African countries - Zambia, Kenya, Malawi and Rwanda - as an example of the sort of initiative we have in mind. Again I refer to the publication Land, Food and People and suggest that donors should start considering the political importance of the conclusion that by the end of the century there will be 19 countries, many of them in Africa, unable to feed themselves.

This has not been a very happy intervention, in the sense that I have identified many problems and painted a very gloomy picture. I think this is necessary; it reflects the reality of the situation and the magnitude of the problem. There is a need for concerted action by the international community. All the international organizations have a role to play, the European Community, the World Bank, UNDP, they all have a role to play in assisting African countries to solve their problems. But in FAO, we have a particularly important source of unique and unrivalled expertise. We very much welcome the Director-General's commitment to increasing work on the problems of Africa. We welcome the promise of a study looking at very significant aspects of African agriculture, the increasing of production and acceptability of locally grown foods. This is of necessity going to be complicated and long-term study and here I must confess to having a sympathy with Kenya who, if I heard right, expressed a desire for perhaps less analysis, fewer studies and more actions.

We think, that in the case of the drought-stricken countries there is an opportunity for more immediate action by FAO, which is uniquely placed to assist the rehabilitation of agriculture in the drought-stricken countries. Let us pause for a moment and think of the problems of the restarting agriculture in these countries which have suffered disorganization, the problems cannot be overstated, these problems of transport, problems of organizing a demoralized population . They are very immediate problems. The Joint Task Force Report No. 6 identified some rehabilitation projects, but looking at them, our view is that these are likely to require some more work before they can be implemented. We would also suggest that the situation has deteriorated more rapidly than was envisaged in September, when the report was produced. We feel there is a need now for a more action-oriented approach to provide information so that both donors and recipients can rapidly identify what is needed and how these inputs can be distributed to farmers. Tunisia mentioned the problems of logistics. We cannot stress these problems too highly.

Against this background, where our present energies are quite rightly focused on the immediate need to save lives and feed the hungry, we suggest that in addition to this, we have to try and anticipate the immediate difficulties of restarting agriculture when the relief operations have fed the hungry. The areas affected are not homogeneous, and the problems may differ from region to region. For example, in some countries there may be areas less affected by drought which could provide seeds and stock to restart agriculture in the affected areas. Other countries may not be so fortunate and may require the mobilization of external resources to start the process of regeneration. Related problems we can foresee include the logistics of providing the inputs, seeds, fertilizer, etc., and equally important, identifying the necessary mix of grants and credit for

impoverished farmers and the human problem of moving people back onto their land and phasing out relief aid. It is our belief that it is not too early to start thinking about these issues, and we believe that if mobilized, the expertise within FAO could play an important role in assisting countries drawing up their own rehabilitation programme. At this point I must say again that we were very gratified to learn that this thinking does appear to accord very much with the statement of the Director-General. No great investment is required. A relatively modest but a well-structured technical cooperation programme should suffice; the expertise is already in-house in FAO here in Rome. On the invitation of governments and in consultation with donors, small teams of experts could visit the countries involved, assess the situation and help prepare action-oriented rehabilitation plans. To do this, they would have to not solely visit capitals, but go into the field and visit the farmers. Last night I was talking to a very distinguished expert of you own Organization, and we both considered the problem of rehabilitation. One of the very first things that we agreed on was the importance for people to get outside capitals, to speak to the farmers, to learn what was needed and then articulate this and translate it in such a way that it could be acted upon by governements and by donors. Such rehabilitation plans could be widely publicized within the donor community and activated on the basis of monitoring through, for example, the FAO Representatives. The cost of all this would be very small compared to the price of human misery and inefficiency if the international community does not think further than famine relief and longer-term rehabilitation. I would suggest that our approach is very much in accord with the activities outlined in document CL 86/2 and complements the Task Force Report. We think the crisis in the drought-stricken countries in Africa is so serious that it is legitimate to call upon FAO to plan and fund such rehabilitation mission by redeploying and redirecting its existing resources rather than waiting till the next biennium.

In this regard we are again very pleased to hear the Director-General indicate that $ 5 million has been put aside to help with rehabilitation.

We consider it is very important faced with a crisis of this magnitude to demonstrate to the public that we are capable of adjusting our priorities and directing scarce resources to the most important of objectives. We welcome the tone of the Director-General’s speech and his very speedy action to redeploy and redirect FAO’s resources to the problem of Africa. In commending to you the proposals by the Director General, I would like to ask you to put this in a historic context in terms of our assistance to Africa. Africa and the problems of African agriculture are going to dominate us until the end of this century, and it is perhaps wise at this point to consider how history will judge us. Over ten years ago the distinguished British scientist and author C.P. Snow suggested that what we would see in the latter part of the twentieth century would be a society, a world in which the people who were fed watched the people who were starving on their television sets. I suggest to you here that this is something that we cannot let happen. It would be inconceivable to future generations that we allowed this to occur, and it is in this sense that I speak in support of the Director-General’ comments and also commend us all to consider these problems extremly seriously.

The meeting rose at 17.45 hours
La séance est levée à 17 h 45
Se levanta la sesión a las 17.45 horas

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