LE PRESIDENT: Je crois que nous sommes en nombre suffisant pour commencer notre troisième seance plénière.
En ce qui concerne la composition du Comité de rédaction, les travaux avancent très rapidement et nous pourrons, dans le courant de la journée, procéder à l’élection des membres et du Président du Comité de redaction, mais d’ultimes négociations doivent se dérouler dans les toutes prochaines heures.
Je declare ouverte la troisième seance plénière de la 99ème session du Conseil.
Quelques modifications doivent être apportées à la liste des orateurs. L’honorable représentant du Kenya doit s’absenter. Je propose done de débuter la seance par l’intervention du Pakistan, qui sera suivie de l’intervention des Etats-Unis d’Amérique et de l’intervention du Kenya. Nous reprendrons ensuite l’ordre tel qu’il a été établi hier.
Compte tenu du nombre d’orateurs inscrits - il y en a 24 - je me permettrai d’insister pour que les interventions, qui sont toujours des interventions substantielles, soient également très breves.
Je vais maintenant demander à Mme l’ambassadeur du Venezuela, Mme Mercedes Fermin Gomez, de bien vouloir présider notre seance de ce matin.
Les voy a presentar a la señora Vicepresidente, Sra. Embajadora Mercedes Fermin Gomez, que va a presidir esta tercera sesión.
Ms Mercedes Fermin Gómez. Vice-Chairman of the Council, took the chair Mme Mercedes Fermin Gómez. Vice-Presidente du Conseil. assume la présidence Ocupa la presidencia la Sra. Mercedes Fermin Gómez. Vicepresidente del Consejo
LA PRESIDENTE: Gracias, Sr. Presidente. Comenzaremos por la lista que dejó preparada el Sr. Presidente y tiene la palabra el distinguido delegado de Pakistan.
Mian Riaz SAMEE (Pakistan): The FAO Council meets in its Ninety-ninth Session at a historic juncture where the geo-political changes of 1989-90 have made greater world peace a possibility for the first time since World
War II: but at the same time sets a trend for a world order where the focus of nations is increasingly becoming confined to areas and regions of greater economic or political relevance to their interests, and a general indifference is becoming discernible to the situations and needs elsewhere, despite an increase in natural disasters and ravages due to wars or internal strife, resulting in grave food security problems. New political and economic alignments are in process, while the disparity between the "haves" and the "have nots" seems to be widening.
The conclusions and recommendations we reach during this crucial session, we hope would take us closer towards viable and lasting solutions, at least in the context of the rampant and unfortunate problems of wide-spread hunger, poverty, and malnutrition in the world. With your most able guidance we are sure this would be possible.
It is comforting to note the stabilization in the world food situation during 1990-91, with record harvests and substantial surpluses to replenish stocks. Nevertheless, the acute shortfall in production reported in Africa, and the serious supply problems in Ethiopia, the Sudan, Angola, Mozambique and Liberia remain a serious cause of concern even in this year of bountiful production. Likewise, reported internal disparities in food availability and access to food supplies, with fall in per capita consumption under the pressure of deteriorating economic conditions in several developing countries, is equally thought-provoking. In spite of this scenario, food aid as brought out in the recently concluded Fifteenth Session of the CFS and the Thirty-first Session of WFP's CFA will remain part of the overall ODA of donors and its flow will remain restricted to existing inadequate levels. Developing countries would therefore have to look inwardly to establish sustainable and dependable systems of food security for their poor and hungry people. It is needless to point out that to achieve this end, ceaseless efforts have to be made to improve, and set on a sustainable and self-reliant course, the economies of the least-developed and middle-income countries. Debt relief, better terms of trade, and access to markets, and, not the least, more liberal availability of new and improved technology to all, are a sine-qua-non. We hope the stalled Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations will be moved forward in what is now being called a new era of global cooperation and amity.
The delegation of Pakistan welcomes the increased resort to local purchases and triangular transactions in the provisions of food aid. This is an encouraging sign in the effort towards promoting food production in developing countries and increasing self-reliance. The upsetting factor, of course, is the lack of balance in cereal production policies, where either we have surpluses with plummeting prices, or acute shortages and spiralling prices due to set-aside and other economic subsidization policies in major cereal-producing countries.
It is time we look into establishing a full-time global mechanism to coordinate on cereal production policies and remove such anomalies. Such an arrangement could be established under the auspices of the FAO.
We are thankful to Allah Almighty that food production in Pakistan is quite satisfactory. Total food grains production has reached the level of 19 million tonnes. We have been able to harvest a bumper wheat crop during
the last two years. Production of wheat stood at 14.3 million metric tonnes in 1989-90, while that of rice was around 3.2 million metric tonnes in paddy. Production of Basmati rice, which is a crucial foreign exchange earner in our economy, continued to increase, and is now around one million tonnes. Maize, another important food grain crop in the country, registered a production increase to 1.17 million tonnes.
Food situation in Pakistan has generally remained satisfactory and no acute shortage of food items has been reported from any part of the country. The stocks of wheat have remained sufficient to meet domestic demand. Against the target of 4.5 million tonnes of wheat, 4.2 million tonnes were procured from the 1989-90 crop. Nevertheless, in order to supplement domestic reserves and maintain a regular supply of wheat in the open market, the country imported 1.7 million metric tonnes during the year. Imported wheat along with domestic stock are expected to hold until the new crop arrives in the market. The Government has fixed a procurement price of Rs 108 per 40 kg for the year 1990-91 in order to provide incentives for bringing more area under wheat. Despite some unfavourable weather at the time of harvest we are hopeful to have another bumper crop of 15.25 million metric tonnes of wheat, during 1990-91.
In order to combat the problems of malnutrition, adequate supplies are being made available at reasonable prices. A strict watch is being kept over prices of essential commodities. However, when the need arises, exports are banned and imports made to ease the situation. As a follow-up of food security measures in the country, strategic reserves of one million metric tonnes are maintained. This provides flexibility not only to meet needs of our own population but also millions of Afghan refugees, living in distress for over ten years in Pakistan.
Availability of essential food items in Pakistan has shown a rising trend in the country, and per capita availability of major items has increased over time. Calorie intake, which was only 2 079 in 1950, has risen to 2 517 calories last year which accounts for 99 percent of the recommended dietary allowance.
The principal objectives of Government of Pakistan's avowed policy of improving living standards in Pakistan can briefly be summed up as:
(a) to create a just society, which ensures economic and social justice for all and removes disparities between urban and rural areas and between more developed and less developed regions; (b) to guarantee the rights of food, shelter, clothing, education, health and gainful employment to every citizen; and (c) to eradicate poverty, backwardness and exploitation from all sections of the society.
In order to achieve these aims the present Government has launched a comprehensive programme of agricultural and rural development which includes: (i) improvement and extension of farm to market roads, electricity, basic education and health facilities and other large-scale infrastructural developments in the rural areas of the country; (ii) a major programme of rural industrialization through private sector interventions for which special incentive packages have been announced to provide employment and higher incomes to the rural population;
(iii) modernization of the agricultural sector through more efficient utilization of the country's water resources, dissemination of new agricultural technology, and provision of agricultural machinery and tools, fertilizers, seeds, and credit to farmers at their doorsteps at reasonable prices in all parts of the country; (iv) special emphasis on increasing the productivity of small farmers; (v) significant improvement in agricultural marketing to ensure that all farmers receive remunerative prices for their crops and livestock and consumers have abundant access to daily necessities like flour, sugar, edible oil and other items of daily use; and (vi) a comprehensive programme of environmental protection to conserve and develop the country's land, water and forest resources.
We hope that, given the financial resources necessary and conducive climatic conditions, these policies would lead to a better and more prosperous life for the poor people of Pakistan.
Finally, to obviate the need to assume the floor again on Agenda Item 5, we would like to note that we participated in the deliberations of the Fifteenth Session of the Committee on World Food Security and fully associate ourselves with the recommendations of this Committee, as contained in its report.
Duane ACKER (United States of America): The United States delegation compliments the Secretariat on this assessment on the World Food Security situation. We believe the Secretariat's report presents an accurate picture of the current world food production, consumption and stocks situation. I am pleased to summarize for the Council the current situation and outlook for grain production in the United States and to highlight recent changes in United States farm policy and export programmes.
Early projections for the 1991-92 marketing year indicate a slight decline in US grain production in 1991, a decline of just under 3 percent. US wheat production is forecast to decline by 24 percent, rice 4 percent, but there will be an increase in the production of coarse grains by about 4 percent. This would be the highest level of coarse grain production since the 1986 crop. The total supply of US grains, which includes stocks carried in from the previous year, is expected to remain virtually unchanged during the 1991-92 marketing year and should be adequate to meet anticipated domestic and export requirements.
US exports of major grains are forecast to increase by about 3 percent in the 1991-92 marketing year, to reach about 85 million tonnes. Based on these early supply and demand projections, including domestic use as well as exports, the carry-over stocks of US feed grains are expected to remain relatively unchanged during 1991-92.
I would like to devote most of my time to the future, the aspects of the 1990 Farm Bill as they relate to grain production and to a few comments regarding the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations. Provisions of the 1990 Farm Bill, which covers generally a five year period in the future, will continue the transition begun in 1985 of moving United States agriculture to a more market-oriented basis. These changes are designed to have United States farmers respond more to market signals and less to governmental
programmes. The following are among the most important of the changes in the domestic farm programmes called for by the 1990 Farm Bill and the decisions that have been made subsequently. Farmers who participate in commodity support programmes in the United States will be permitted to grow a wider range of crops, on up to 25 percent of their traditional planted acreage. This should enhance food security by increasing the production of crops that are in scarce supply and reducing the production of crops that may be in surplus.
In regard to the acreage reduction programmes which have been a part of US agriculture now for a number of years, these will now be based on the ratio of present stocks to usage, rather than on simply the projected carry-over stock levels, as was previously the case. Though this may seem to be a subtle change, it will allow the acreage reduction decisions made by our farmers to more accurately reflect market needs, and I might say that these acreage reduction levels have been decreasing. We have been taking less land out of production. We have a farmer-owned reserve. The farmer-owned provision has been extended by legislation, and this reserve will no longer be isolated from the market stock. Decisions on marketing the grain in the farmer-owned reserves will be made primarily by the farmer in response to market signals.
In terms of the food security wheat reserve, there has been provided authority to replenish the reserve to its 4 million metric tonne level, and a requirement has been added that the reserve must be replenished within 18 months after wheat has been released for use in our foreign food aid programme, obviously to ensure the availability of reserves.
There are also continued and more emphatic conservation measures included in the 1990 Farm Bill encouraging cultivation practices which promise greater conservation of soil and water resources. Several changes were made also in our Public Law 480, food assistance programmes. There is a new Title 3, government-to-government programme, which will provide food assistance to the least developed countries on a grant basis. This new authority will significantly increase the proportion of total US food assistance which will be provided on a grant basis. Another new provision of the 1990 Farm Bill is discretionary authority to reduce the PL 480 debt obligations for least developed countries which are undertaking economic reform measures.
Almost 7 million metric tonnes grain equivalent basis of commodities will be provided through the PL 480 programme during fiscal year 1991. Of this, about 2.8 million metric tonnes is expected to be available through Title 1 concessional financing, where the food aid is sold on a low interest and long-term payment arrangement, the rest to be provided as donation and grants. Included in these figures is 300 thousand metric tonnes of wheat which has recently been authorized to be released by President Bush from the food security wheat reserve in response to urgent humanitarian food needs in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
The United States also continues to make food assistance available through two additional authorities, overseas donations of Government-owned commodities (Section 416 Programme) and the Food for Progress Programme. For fiscal year 1991 our Secretary of Agriculture has determined that over
2.3 million metric tonnes of government-owned corn, sorghum, non-fat dry milk, and butter are available for overseas donations from government-owned inventories. This is in addition to the 7 million mentioned above. To date about 1 million metric tonnes have been designated and approved for specific shipment.
The United States also continued to make available substantial levels of guaranteed commercial export credit. These guarantees facilitate the importing of food by countries with limited borrowing capacity. During fiscal year 1991 US$5 billion of short term (6 month to 3 year guarantees) and US$500 million of intermediate term (3 to 10 year guarantees) are authorized. In addition, as provided by the new 1990 Farm Bill, another US$200 million of credit guarantees is authorized to be made available to facilitate sales of US agricultural commodities to specifically emerging democracies.
The United States is clearly committed to do all in its power to help move the global agriculture system to a market-oriented status to diminish the role of government consistent with the direction that I have described by the 1995 Farm Bill. By so doing global food security will increase, because production systems and agricultural trade will respond to the market. Both the ingenuity of our farmers around the world and the comparative advantage that exists for individual countries will be rewarded by the market.
I offer three specific actions within the United States: (1) removing the ceiling on the Export Enhancement Programme to increase world trade; (2) lowering of the 1991 feed grain set aside (the acreage reduction programme) to a level of 7.5 percent; and (3) the lowering of the set aside or acreage programme in the United States for fall 1991 planting to 5 percent.
In conclusion, I will share with the group a statement made by our Secretary in regard to the completion of the Uruguay Round. There was a message from the Ministers of Agriculture last week who participated in the United Nations World Food Council to the trade negotiators involved in the Uruguay Round talks. I emphasize this is a message from the group of Ministers participating in the meeting in Copenhagen. It stressed a high priority to the satisfactory outcome of the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations. The statement says in part: "The lack of a conclusion in the Uruguay Round after five years of negotiations has a severe impact on world trade, especially the trade situation of the developing countries. The most disturbing aspect is the effect this has on poverty and food security in these countries."
Another sentence from this statement: "At the outset of the 1990s it is imperative that they be given a fair opportunity to realize their full economic potential."
A statement in this morning's lead editorial in the Herald Tribune using data from OECD's sharp-eyed statisticians stated that the rise in subsidized agricultural products - the prices have been rising in several years - not only in Europe but around the world means that the burden of
the subsidies is being shifted from the public budgets to consumers. "The rich industrial democracies" - this is a specific quotation from the Herald Tribune - "spent nearly US$3 billion last year on farm subsidies."
May I refer to a statement made by our Secretary of Agriculture, Mr Madigan, last week at the World Food Council meeting acknowledging and recognizing that though the rich industrialized countries may have spent US$3 billion last year on farm subsidies and there is increased cost to consumers in those countries, in speaking of the successful completion of the Uruguay Round our Secretary indicated that the benefits that would accrue to the developing countries exceed the total aid they receive from all sources in a given year.
Daniel D.C. DON NANJIRA (Kenya): The Kenyan delegation is very happy to see you, Madam, in the chair. We congratulate you and your colleagues on unanimous election to your respective positions.
The Director-General in his statement of yesterday highlighted crucial issues and challenges facing the international community in the food and agricultural field in the 1990s and beyond. We in this delegation have studied the contents of that statement very carefully and share his concern for the Organization and the handicaps currently confronting FAO in the discharge of its duties.
All the members of the international community and of FAO have a moral, legal, political and socio-economic obligation to ensure that FAO executes its mandate competently, efficiently and effectively. We know that this is not possible unless FAO has the means to do what we expect it to do. We know that it is our standing duty to give FAO the necessary tools to do the job.
We should not lose sight of the fact that the victims of any measures we may take having any punitive implications for FAO are and will always be the poor and hungry of the developing world. The fundamental requirement for product implementation is financial resources. Without money everything remains on paper. The poor farmers and the hungry of the world cannot live on promises or resolutions alone. They cannot live on good intentions alone. We must translate our promises and ideas into concrete action, and this is not possible unless financial support is forthcoming.
The international agenda before us for deliberation is overloaded with very serious topics. The agenda is very important because it addresses issues that are central to the survival of humankind. This is clearly indicated in the documents before us for discussion, for which I would like on behalf of my delegation to thank the FAO Secretariat. The Kenyan delegation shall be addressing some of these issues as they are taken up by the Council. However, for now I shall limit my comments to items 4 and 5 relating to the food and agricultural situation of the world.
Our times are very critical times. The food and agricultural situation of the developing world is particularly grave and has not really been good for the past thirty years. Most of the people who die of hunger and famine and starvation worldwide are actually in the developing countries. Hunger and
starvation are responsible for the death of 35 000 human beings a day, 24 persons a minute, of whom 18 are children, 15 million small children under the age of five years and 13 to 18 million people every year. In fact, 1.2 billion people are either poor and chronically hungry or they live at subsistence level, mostly in the developing world, and more people have died from hunger and famine in the past two years or so than were killed in the past two world wars combined. There is competent evidence that the number of people who die every two days of hunger and starvation is equivalent to the number who were killed by the Hiroshima bomb of August 1945. Other competent studies indicate that two-fifths of the world population live on diets distinctly substandard both in quantity and quality and too inadequate to maintain life. It is argued that the number of hungry people is closer to 60 percent of the world's total population of 5.2 billion, expected to double by the year 2050.
Thus, the food problems in Africa pose the most critical crisis because perhaps nowhere else is the food crisis so critical as it is in Africa. This is evident from all accounts, including the information available to us now in the Secretariat documents. The situation is frightening. The number of African people facing chronic hunger and starvation today is estimated at 150 million. If this trend persists, and there is every indication that it will, then Africa could have 200 million or more people suffering from food deficiency syndrome by the year 2000. The food shortages in Africa, and elsewhere in the developing world for that matter, are aggravated by the following factors among many others.
First is the rapid population explosion, especially in Africa where population growth outpaces food and agricultural production. Second are the food policies and strategies of some of these countries which are often formulated with the advice of international experts and agencies, and these food policies and strategies are erratic and sometimes stress misplaced priorities. Third is the element of environmental degradation and other natural disasters and man-made calamities having comparable consequences. These include drought and desertification, floods, torrential rains, pests, wars, civil conflicts and livestock pressures and the like. Fourth are the problems of governments, macro-economic problems, including debt and debt servicing and the like. Fifth are the protectionist policies of some industrial countries and other external factors beyond the control of the developing nations. These include fluctuations in commodity prices, world recession, pricing policies, for example, on fertilizers and other farm inputs, which adversely affect the prices of cereals and major export crops of the developing nations, commodities such as tea, coffee, sugar, cocoa, palm oil and the like.
This is the real stress of exotic crops, for example rice, wheat and barley as the major crops, and the neglect of the traditional crops and their classification as minor crops. In Africa the traditional crops include millet, finger-millet, sorghum, cassava, plantains, sweet potatoes, yams including colacosia yams, bananas, pulses, fruits, tubers, oilseeds, nutritional vegetables and the like. These, Madam Chairperson, were neglected by the colonial food and agricultural policies and practices. These days more research should be done on these traditional crops in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world as the basis - these must be the basis - for food security in the Third World.
Measures to increase food and agriculture production have to be taken at all levels. At the national level the developing nations have to ensure that their food security policies and strategies are sound and effective, but enough timely financial and technical resource flows must be assured to the South in order to enable the South to translate national food policies and strategies into concrete and practical action. This in effect, among other things, means training manpower in various areas of agricultural development; promoting ECDC and TCDC activities in food and agriculture; encouragement and involvement of people's participation, especially women and youth, in development; exploitation, development and utilization of new and renewable resources of energy and fishery sources in the exclusive economic zones, and protecting and conserving the environment for sustainable agricultural development.
At the international level every effort should be made to ensure an effective and better coordinated approach to the work of the food and agricultural agencies of the UN System. This is an important item, Madam Chairperson, and later on my delegation will address it when the item will be discussed.
We must fight hunger and alleviate poverty, famine and malnutrition; food emergencies must be combatted; food aid should be used more as a development tool complementary to financial and technical assistance; agriculture has to be accorded the highest priority and increased resources in the national development plans of the developing countries. Thus as you can see, Madam Chairperson, the challenges facing the international community are enormous in the coming decade and even beyond. It is more than a mere moral imperative to solve the food and agriculture problems of our decade. The inequality of interests and vulnerability and interdependence of the international community make us face two choices, either we collaborate in the solution of these problems, or our international and interdependence system shall collapse. Madam Chairperson, we are doomed to cooperate and we are condemned to succeed. That is our fate and I thank you very much.
Gerhard LIEBER (Germany): Señora Presidente, the Secretariat has submitted as usual a very carefully prepared document on the Current World Food Situation. It reflects the complex and, in part, contradictory trends underlying the global situation as it presents itself to us. whilst overall cereal output in 1990 went up by 80 million tonnes - by the way not merely 8 million as written on page 2 of the document - grain production in Africa and South America declined. This will undoubtedly add to the difficulties of some less developed, food deficit countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In our view it is the considerable difference as to region, food commodity per caput production, and actual availability of staple food that should and must be thoroughly considered to define any remedial action.
After this rather general comment my delegation would like to point out some facts that are of special concern to us. Out of 112 developing countries, 67 did not achieve food output levels sufficient to match population growth. Within that group of countries sub-Saharan Africa accounts for the largest share. Per caput staple food production, also having globally recovered due to a higher performance in developed
countries, continues to stagnate or even decline in most of the developing countries. Disparity among developing countries as to per caput food output is growing. In countries most severely affected by food shortages, efforts to curb strong population growth and boost local food production have not so far resulted in the desired effects. Pledges for food aid by potential donors are expected to fall by approximately 5 percent against the previous year.
Finally the prospects for food deficit LDCs to be able to pay for larger imports of cereals and other food items are rather insecure in view of their precarious economic situation.
Señora Presidente, as already stated on previous occasions my government favours effective action to gradually reverse these trends. To do so, favourable conditions both in the developing countries and in the international economic and political environment are required. I would like to underline just a few of them: Appropriate national policies to promote agricultural production bearing in mind the principle of sustainability and natural resource protection; pricing and marketing policies especially in developing countries conducive to higher agricultural output for home consumption as well as export; access to land, capital, inputs and agricultural infrastructures for market-oriented smallholders; introduction of labour intensive rather than capital intensive adapted technologies in small-scale farming and rural industries which can offer employment opportunities and combat poverty and hunger.
Señora Presidente, the challenges the international community faces in the field of food and agriculture acquires its real dimension in our opinion when looking at the recent figures of the estimated population growth by the year 2000 and beyond. Thank you very much.
Sra. Mónica DEREGIBUS (Argentina): Es un placer para la Delegación Argentina verla presidir nuestros trabajos y quisiera pedirle, por favor, que este mismo sentimiento lo transmita usted, señora Presidente, a sus colegas en la mesa de este Consejo.
Si usted nos permite, señora Presidente, quisiéramos expresar nuestro aprecio por el documento CL 99/2 que la Secretaria ha puesto en nuestras manos. Su elaborado contenido y la profusión de cuadros estadísticos nos ha permitido analizar la situación de la agricultura y la alimentación en el mundo de una manera gráfica y concreta.
Los Cuadros 1 y 2 ilustran sobre los cambios recientemente ocurridos en la producción mundial y regional, incluyéndose un desglose por productos básicos. Según las cifras allí expresadas la producción mundial de cereales en 1990 aumentó un 4 por ciento, pero dicho aumento se concentró fuertemente en los países desarrollados.
Vemos con preocupación, señora Presidente, que al mismo tiempo que creció la producción mundial de alimentos básicos en Africa y en América Latina, la producción per cápita, que es el dato que más significación tiene, disminuyó en este último caso por tercer año consecutive Durante el último
año en más de la mitad de los países de América Latina y el Caribe, se registraron descensos en la producción en términos por habitante.
Señora Presidente, de continuar esta tendencia sólo cabe esperar el incremento de la enorme diferencia actualmente existente entre la producción de alimentos en los países en desarrollo y en los países desarrollados. Si bien las existencias mundiales de cereales alcanzarían al final de 1991 la cifra del 18 por ciento respecto a la utilización prevista, porcentaje que la FAO considera necesario para salvaguardar la seguridad alimentaria mundial, resulta bien evidente que los desequilibrios, van en aumento.
La situación planteada requiere que el Consejo se exprese claramente acerca del fenómeno que produce incrementos en los desequilibrios en la producción mundial. Este fenómeno, señora Presidente, se llama proteccionismo. En particular, a nuestra delegación le preocupa que indicadores de este tipo sean la justificación muchas veces empleada para que no se desmantelen las artificiales producciones subsidiadas de los países industrializados que aniquilan toda posibilidad de crecimiento económico en los países en desarrollo, que requieren de la producción agropecuaria para alimentar a su población, y de la exportación de sus productos para concretar su desarrollo. No es la falta global de alimentos lo que tanto debe alarmarnos; la falta de desarrollo, la caída del poder adquisitivo por la disminución de los términos del intercambio y la inexistencia de incentivos hacia la producción en los países en desarrollo, son las actuales y más importantes causas de las hambrunas crónicas y de la desnutrición.
Cinco años de negociaciones en la Ronda Uruguay del GATT ban resultado infructuosos para alcanzar un acuerdo hacia la liberalización de la producción y el comercio agrícola internacional. Para hacer frente con eficacia al hambre y a la malnutrición, la Comunidad Internacional debe crear condiciones que promuevan el crecimiento económico de las naciones, ricas y pobres por igual. Estas condiciones nunca se reunirán sin un acuerdo destinado a liberalizar el comercio mundial de productos agropecuarios.
Nuestro actual sistema comercial mundial está seriamente menoscabado por el proteccionismo, las subvenciones a las exportaciones y los apoyos a los precios que privan a los agricultores de su derecho a competir con equidad en los mercados mundiales. Los mayores perjuicios los sufren los campesinos pobres y las comunidades rurales de todo el mundo.
Como ha sido recordado por el señor representante de Estados Unidos, la falta de una resolución en las negociaciones comerciales multilaterales está privando a los países en desarrollo de ganancias de exportación por un valor de alrededor de 100 000 millones de dólares anuales. Más del doble de lo que reciben de las naciones desarrolladas en ayuda económica cada año.
El Banco Mundial estima que las pérdidas de los países en desarrollo sólo en el sector de la agricultura provocadas por el acoso de las políticas proteccionistas de los industrializados, alcanzan a 26 000 millones de dólares por año. Al mismo tiempo ello supone para los contribuyentes y los consumidores de las naciones de la OECD un costo que se acerca a los 300 000 millones de dólares por año.
Nosotros estimamos que sería mucho más lógico pensar que gran parte de ese dinero podría gastarse mejor en inversiones en los países en desarrollo, para ayudar a estos en su lucha para vencer el hambre y la malnutrición. Lo que es necesario es un acuerdo sustantivo que incluya las políticas de apoyo, proceda a una reducción importante de las subvenciones a las exportaciones y abra los mercados.
Esperantos que se alcance un acuerdo que imponga una disciplina científica a las medidas sanitarias y fitosanitarias que influyan en el comercio y que otorgue un trato especial y diferenciado al mundo en desarrollo. La menor intervención estimulará una sana competencia, se incrementará el empleo y la inversión en nuestros países, se fortaleeerán nuestra economías y se reducirá la inestabilidad de los precíos internacionales.
Como adelantara el distinguido representante de los Estados Unidos, las evidencias que hoy presentamos y el llamamiento que hoy hacemos en este foro han sido la semana pasada objeto de un mensaje enviado por los ministros de agricultura de muchos países aquí presentes, reunidos en el Consejo Mundial de la Alimentación de las Naciones Unidas en Helsingør, Dinamarca. De un mensaje, digo, a los negociadores de la Ronda Uruguay, del GATT.
Permítanos expresar la esperanza de que dicho mensaje sea escuchado con la atención que merece y que este Consejo haga suyo su contenido.
J.B. SHARPE (Australia): Before addressing this item, I would like to advise Members of Council that the Australian Minister John Kerin has been elevated to the senior ministerial position of Australian Treasurer. He was previously the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy and, as such, held a portfolio responsibility in the Australian Government for FAO matters. As Members of Council will be aware, he is the current FAO Conference Chairman. His place in the Australian Ministry will be taken by Mr. Simon Crean. Dr. Geoff Miller, the Secretary of the Australian Department of Primary Industries and Energy was in Europe recently and was intending to lead the Australian delegation at this Council meeting. Unfortunately, he had to return to Australia in order to brief the incoming Minister.
I now turn to the document before us - CL 99/2. It provides a well-rounded picture of the major elements of the current world food and agriculture situation, and I congratulate the Secretariat on its preparation. There are some specific paragraphs on which I would like to comment before adopting a more general approach.
Australia shares the concern of other Council Members about the critical nature and extent of the food supply situation described in paragraphs 17 and 18. Paragraphs 19 to 23 address cereal stocks, and it is estimated that world cereal stocks will increase in 1990-91. However, in the case of wheat in the following year the International Wheat Council forecasts a decline of 136 million tonnes. World wheat consumption at 570 million tonnes is expected to exceed production by around 6 million tonnes.
Unfortunately, the need for food aid will continue to increase in the 1990s, and it is doubtful whether the resources to meet that need will be available. Australia expects to provide approximately 370 000 tonnes of wheat equivalent in 1990/91, which represents a 10.4 percent increase over the 1989-90 total of 335 000 tonnes. This increase is a result mainly of the low 1990-91 price of wheat. It is expected that the present level of the Australian food aid programme, at least in dollar terms, will be maintained.
Paragraph 31 refers to the extension of the 1986 Food Aid Convention. All members of the International Wheat Council have lifted their reservations on a two-year extension, to June 1993, of the Wheat Trade Convention. Its counterpart convention, the Food Aid Convention, is now also likely to be extended. Australia has confirmed its decision to support a two-year extension of both conventions. Our minimum pledge under the Food Aid Convention will remain at 300 000 tonnes of wheat or equivalent per annum.
As regards the exceptionally large shipments of food aid in cereals made to Eastern Europe, referred to in paragraph 30, Australia would be concerned if food aid pledges to Eastern and Central European countries were at the expense of food aid flows to those developing countries facing acute shortages.
FAO's assessments in the document of fish production and availability are welcomed. We are aware of the difficulties of arriving at such estimates both nationally and internationally. As you will be aware, the welfare of fisheries is extremely important for the economies of many of the small island nations of the South-West Pacific. The question of sustainability of production is as important for fisheries as for any other area of food production. Fisheries management, nationally and internationally, often results in a cut in fishing effort and perhaps even in total quantities of fish harvested. FAO might in future attempt to assess the extent to which reductions in quantities harvested are the consequence of fisheries management regimes put in place. Such reductions, in effect, can be investments in fisheries intended to result in future in greater stability of supplies, though perhaps at a lower level, and in more fisheries becoming economically viable and sustainable.
That great influence on the level of future production, international price, is referred to in paragraph 27. World wheat prices are at historically low real levels, but are forecast by the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Research Economics to strengthen next crop year due to changing market fundamentals. However, prices will continue to be largely affected by US/EC cereals export subsidies with the availability of export credits having an increasing role in sales.
Having made those specific comments, I will now turn to the more general aspects of the document before us. It is noted that while there was an increase in world food production in 1990 in the developing countries, where it is needed most, production was 2.3 percent below the average growth rate of the 1980s. This was referred to by a number of countries both today and yesterday.
Something we need to look at closely is the positive means of bringing about more permanent changes to both improve the situation in developed countries and reverse declines in production in developing countries. There are a number of means which can be looked at and each of us would have our preferred options. Among those means in which my country sees particular benefit can be counted the need to protect the world's environment and encourage sustainable agricultural production methods, the need to reduce population pressures and the need to liberalize trade in world agricultural products.
There has emerged in the last few years a clear recognition by countries, both developed and developing, of the need to protect and improve the world environment if we are to sustain a growing world population, and the need for international cooperation in addressing what are global problems. World leaders are now espousing the importance of sustainable development, and sutainability is being integrated into economic decision-making. We are pleased to see that such priority has also been given in FAO's Programme of Work and Budget for the forthcoming biennium. One aspect of sustainable development that we cannot ignore is the need to reduce the pressures of population.
The document addresses the problem of per caput food production and refers to the unfavourable situation recorded in a majority of the developing countries in 1990. Out of 112 developing countries, food production failed to match population growth in 67 of them. This was also referred to by the delegate of Germany.
The UN's latest estimates of world population growth indicate that an extra billion people will occupy the planet every ten years, with world population eventually levelling off at about twice the current level. Most of the population growth will be in the developing countries least equipped to meet the needs of their people and invest in the future. These countries are caught in a vicious cycle, with population growth eroding the gains in living standards brought about by economic growth.
One of the most effective means we see to assist developing countries to increase production and income is to provide market access for the goods they produce by liberalizing world agricultural trade. We strongly support the views of previous speakers along these lines. Substantial and progressive reductions in support and protection are vital to the future of the world trading system, to the economic development of the developing countries, as well as setting the right course for the newly emerging market economies of Eastern Europe.
A positive development we would note concerns the Uruguay Round. While there was much disappointment (no more so than by Australia) when the Uruguay Round negotiations faltered in Brussels last year, there are now some renewed hopes that there can be a 'successful outcome. The extension of the fast track mandate by the United States Congress recently demonstrates their willingness to continue negotiations and if the community seriously addresses European CAP reform then the Round could be brought to a successful conclusion towards the end of this year or early next year.
Australia is pleased to join Argentina and the United States in also bringing to the attention of this Council the message from the Ministers of the UN World Food Council meeting in Denmark last week to the Multilateral Trade Negotiations of the Uruguay Round. Australia strongly endorses the contents of that Ministerial message.
We propose that this Council report acknowledges the very constructive approach taken by the Ministers of the WFC in sending this message to the Uruguay Round negotiators and endorse the sentiments contained therein. 1 conclude with that, and thank you, Madam Chairman, for the opportunity you have provided for me to make these comments on this Agenda item.
Ms. Maria Luisa GAVINO (Philippines): My delegation first of all would like to express our appreciation at seeing you in the chair, Madam Chairman. We also appreciate the up-date presented by Dr. Dutia on the current world food situation.
Agriculture in my country continues to expand and play the main role in the growth and stability of the national economy. It is recognised that higher farm incomes from increased agricultural productivity, among other things, can pay for food imports.
At global level, the breakthrough in farm incomes in developing countries may be achieved only if the developed countries abolish protectionist measures and cut subsidies which distort world market prices. In this connection, we appeal for political will towards a positive conclusion of the GATT Uruguay Round. We are not losing hope, particularly in the light of the efforts of the United States and their delegation's revelation on the matter which transpired during the World Food Council Ministerial session.
Turning to the local scene, I am pleased to say that despite the natural calamities which have beset my country in this past year, such as drought, earthquake and typhoons, we have managed to increase our productivity of rice almost to the point of self-sufficiency. Moreover, as a result of the government corn programme we now find ourselves not only self-sufficient in corn, but with some quantities ready for export.
The scene is not all that rosy. The Philippines is still deep in foreign debt. We believe that higher farm income and sustainability will help meet the country's foreign debt obligation. However, development remains distant if we are not able to address these problems, especially with the help of the international community.
Benjamin CASTELLO (Angola): Madame la Présidente, ma délégation vòudrait en premier lieu adresser ses félicitations aux Vice-Présidents élus durant la session d'hier.
C'est avec beaucoup d'intérêt que nous avons lu le document CL 99/2 qui illustre bien la situation de l'alimentation dans le monde.
Nous voudrions profiter de l'opportunité qui nous est offerte pour féliciter Monsieur Dutia pour la forme claire et concise avec laquelle il a abordé ce sujet d'actualité.
Malgré l'augmentation de la production alimentaire en terme global, nous constatons amèrement qu'en Afrique la production alimentaire de base par habitant ne fait que s'effondrer d'année en année, provoquant des situations presque insoutenables dans le domaine de l'approvisionnement, et l'Angola ne fait pas exception.
Le processus de paix en cours dans mon pays ouvre de nouvelles perspectives en ce qui concerne la réhabilitation des capacités productives des communautés rurales qui constituent la majorité de la population.
Mon pays, outre le fait qu'il est dévasté par la guerre, vit une situation de pénurie en intrants et de calamités naturelles qui rendent vulnérables les conditions de vie déjà précaires de ses populations rurales.
A cet effet, malgré les difficultés actuelles de trésorerie que traverse notre FAO nous, Angolais, formulons le voeu qu'un effort supplémentaire soit fait si nous tenons à restituer à ces populations leur dignité humaine.
Nous sommes convaincus que, grâce à une solidarité internationale soutenue, nous pourrions dans un délai raisonnable récupérer les niveaux de production agricole des années 74 du secteur traditionnel angolais, secteur qui approvisionne le pays à plus de 90 pour cent en produits alimentaires de base et permettrait l'exportation des excédents de céréales et de féculents.
Nous nourrissons l'espoir que l'assistance additionnelle de la FAO continuera à être soutenue et dirigée vers des secteurs clés tels que la réhabilitation des points d'eau dans les zones d'élevage, le reboisement, la production locale de semences, la gestion des ressources naturelles, la vulgarisation, l'élaboration et la gestion des politiques agricoles d'une part et la préparation, le suivi et l'évaluation des projets d'autre part.
Madame la Présidente, nous ne pourrions terminer cette modeste intervention sans exprimer nos profonds remerciements à la FAO, aux institutions du Système des Nations Unies et aux organisations non gouvernementales pour l'assistance financière et technique qu'elles ont toujours prêtée aux communautés rurales de l'Angola.
F.M. MBEWE (Zambia): The current world food situation, as reported, is one of mixed impressions. Although the overall growth has been positive, regional positions show some variation; food relief in some regions and countries, shortages in others, reveal unbalanced global recovery. The report, therefore, is useful in indicating that there is no time for complacency as the 1990 production performance will do very little to offset the hunger situation, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
The implication of this is that the demand for food assistance, particularly in Africa where food production has been low, will continue to rise. In fact some countries in Africa need immediate food relief due to wars and drought.
Yet the report tells us that food aid is projected to fall by a substantial quantity. This is estimated at 10.9 million tonnes. This is of great concern to my delegation and we wish to urge FAO, in spite of its liquidity problems, to keep monitoring the food aid situation and send its timely early warning signals of imminent danger of starvation as well as mobilize food aid assistance from major donors. More so, assistance needs to be intensified to help develop, on a sustainable basis, the agriculture of the developing countries.
This underscores the need to pay the contributions due to FAO to enable the Organization to assist Member States, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, to enhance food production capacities.
LA PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias, señor Delegado de Zambia. Le agradecemos además su gentileza hacia nuestra persona. Corresponde ahora la palabra al Delegado de Países Bajos.
D.D.P. VAN RAPPARD (Netherlands): The world food situation is an agenda item which we discuss virtually every FAO meeting and we are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss it again today.
Not only FAO, but we all have together a major responsibility in this field and the world food situation does not appear to be satisfactory at all.
Document CL 99/2 gives a brief but good outline of the current situation with regard to production, consumption, stocks and international price-level of a number of food commodities. It also describes recent developments last year compared to earlier years. The total world food production increased in 1990 for the second time after a period with decreases. In the development countries the situation however is still far from prosperous. From a total of 112 countries the food production in not less than 67 countries did not increase in 1990 compared to 1989. The total average growth - as has been said many times already - arrived at a figure of 2.3 percent, less than the average for the 1980s.
Particularly in Africa the situation looks gloomy, with acute food shortages. In Ethiopia and the Sudan the situation is critical and Mozambique, Angola and Liberia are also facing a bad situation. Moreover, the countries in Latin America have problems with food supply.
The production of staple foods recovered in 1989 and to some extent in 1990, too. Nevertheless the per capita production moves still below the average for the years 1980-85. And Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean showed even a decrease in the production of staple foods.
So the positive development regarding the production of staple foods where, for the first time since 1986, production exceeded consumption, has not been equally divided over the world. CFS discussed this matter and arrived also at the conclusion that in several developing countries the per capita food consumption stagnates or even decreases.
I am afraid that the world food situation will be on our agenda for many more years. The world cereal production in 1990 came to 1951 million tonnes. It is expected that the wheat production in 1991 will stay below the 1990 record harvest. Presumably the production of food grains will increase in 1991.
Cereal stocks at the end of the harvest-season 1991 are estimated at 325 million tonnes, some 18 percent of the consumption in the year 1991/92 and close to the minimum to safeguard food security. The increase of "carry over" stocks occurred mainly in developed countries and consisted basically of wheat. The "carry over" stocks in developing countries are low and will presumably decrease even further. So the food situation in these countries will become more vulnerable. Food imports from developed countries went up in 1990 by 3.2 percent in quantity which resulted in a price increase of 15 percent. It is estimated that 1990/91 cereal imports from developed countries will be some 8 percent in volume below the 1989 level. Food aid in cereals in 1990/91 is expected to go down to 10.9 million tonnes, considerably lower than in 1989/90. In that year large quantities were shipped to Eastern Europe.
Finally, in this regard I would like to stress once again the potential importance of triangular transactions, local purchases and swap arrangements. The donations for IEFR, often experienced as insufficient, are the result of direct allocations of means to WFP on behalf of refugees. In the past, two-thirds of IEFR means went to this purpose. The great need for food aid should not be confused with emergency food aid.
Considering the alarming rate at which emergencies are increasing and the involved aid, we think it could be appropriate to study this issue and put it on the agenda for the next CFS.
LA PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias, señor Delegado de Países Bajos. Deben tomarse en cuenta sus sugerencias, muy interesantes. Corresponde ahora la palabra al Delegado de México.
Ricardo VELAZQUEZ HUERTA (México): Gracias, señora Presidente y Embajadora. Nos complace mucho verla presidir esta reunión. El documento CL 99/2, a nuestro juicio, está muy bien estructurado. Precisa con mucha claridad el panorama de la alimentación que priva en el mundo y sobre el cual habremos de trabajar para contribuir a dar solución a uno de los problemas más graves que afronta la humanidad: cómo satisfacer en cantidad y calidad suficientes las necesidades de alimentación. De su lectura, la Delegación mexicana advierte con preocupación las siguientes cuestiones: que en la producción de alimentos está el descenso en los países en desarrollo, principalmente en América Latina y el Caribe; que la carencia de alimentos afecta enormemente la salud y la existencia de grandes masas de población,
también en Asia y en Africa; que es indispensable incrementar la ayuda alimentaria en cereales, cuyo volumen disminuyó en 1989 y 1990, toda vez que la producción de éstos solamente aumentó en los países desarrollados; que es impostergable revertir el deterioro de la producción de alimentos básicos, cuyo nivel actual es el más bajo registrado históricamente en los últimos treinta años, y que un sistema de comercio international injusto, ventajoso y proteccionista ahoga y deteriora las economias de los países en desarrollo. Compartimos la necesidad de que este foro se pronuncie al respecto, con base en las recomendaciones adoptadas por los países miembros que asistieron a la reunión de Helsingør.
Las cifras y el contenido del documento nos inquietan y alarman, pues reflejan un panorama actual de difícil solución, que afectará sin duda toda la década. No podemos menos que relacionar estos datos con el cúmulo de planteamientos hechos en distintos foros para dar solución a la problemática alimentaria. Sin embargo, precisado el problema y recogidas las propuestas, aún no somos capaces de encontrar una fórmula que resuelva la situación, y no podemos menos que hablar del cumplimiento estricto de la responsabilidad internacional, si es que deseamos hacer algo al respecto. Si se tiene el compromiso de aportar contribuciones a tiempo y en los montos acordados o prometidos, es inútil y penoso argumentar en contrario. La FAO no puede, a causa de promesas de contribuciones incumplidas, ejecutar promesas de programas. Si es necesario sacrificar ganancias en aras de un sistema económico mundial más equitativo que tenga como meta el acabar con el hambre y el subdesarrollo, hay que hacerlo sin poner pretextos. Si los organismos encargados de la alimentación tienen que coordinarse de una manera más eficiente para cumplir los mandatos internacionales, no hay razón, o al menos no la vemos, para que no lo hagan. Desafortunadamente, existen las necesidades; afortunadamente, tenemos los organismos. Que hay que perfeccionarlos, depurarlos o dotarlos de recursos inteligentes, no cabe duda. FAO se debate entre la carencia de recursos y el cumplimiento de su mandato. No es justo ni honesto cruzarse de brazos y no actuar en su favor. Ojalá hagamos frente a nuestra responsabilidad en la medida de las exigencias de nuestro tiempo.
Raphaël RABE (Madagascar): Madame la Présidente, la délégation malgache est heureuse de vous voir présider ce point important de notre ordre du jour.
Nous remercions M. Dutia pour la présentation très claire du sujet.
Mon intervention sera assez brève car nous appuyons sans réserve les déclarations des nombreuses délégations, dont la délégation du Kenya, de l'Angola et de la Zambie relatives au problème alimentaire en Afrique.
Conformément à son mandat défini par les textes de base, le Conseil doit "se tenir constamment au courant de la situation de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture dans le monde". Il en tire bien entendu des conclusions et formule des recommandations à adresser aux Etats Membres et à la Conférence. Le document à l'examen est clair et coneis 'et nous décrit très bien la situation. Il met en exergue le fait que malgré l'accroissement sensible de la production alimentaire en 1990 et l'augmentation des stocks céréaliers mondiaux, la faim et la malnutrition persistent et la situation
de l'approvisionnement alimentaire reste préoccupante dans de nombreux pays africains, ainsi que dans de nombreux pays d'Amérique latine.
Les paragraphes 17 et 18 du document donnent une liste de pays en grave difficulté et indiquent pour certains la nature de l'aide requise.
A notre avis, seule une collaboration étroite et soutenue entre la FAO, le PAM, le Haut Commissariat aux réfugiés, les pays en difficulté et bien entendu les pays donateurs, permettra de venir à bout de ces situations très graves. Nous sommes convaincus cependant que de telles collaborations existent déjà. Nous souhaitons seulement leur intensification. Bien entendu, les autres institutions du système des Nations Unies peuvent et doivent aussi apporter leur contribution efficace à la résolution de la crise.
Dans les autres pays, la situation, sans être désespérée, n'est pas non plus brillante. La croissance à long terme de la production d'aliments de base, nous dit-on dans le document, a évolué dans un sens diamétralement opposé dans les pays en développement et le fossé reste très grand entre pays développés et pays en développement, car il se situe à 500 kg d'aliments de base par personne.
Compte tenu de leur faible performance dans l'agriculture, les pays en développement à déficit alimentaire, surtout ceux de la région africaine, devront encore avoir recours pendant des années à d'importantes importations de produits alimentaires.
Malheureusement, malgré toutes les mesures de redressement économique qu'ils mettent en oeuvre depuis déjà quelques années, ils ne sont pas encore en mesure de faire face à leurs besoins. Aussi, l'aide alimentaire s'avère-t-elle encore nécessaire et indispensable. La nécessité d'accroitre l'aide alimentaire dans le futur a été largement reconnue par le CPA dans sa dernière session, en raison notamment de l'augmentation du nombre de personnes mal nourries, de la dégradation de la balance des paiements et des niveaux élevés du service de la dette dans la plupart des pays africains.
Compte tenu de la situation particulièrement préoccupante de l'Afrique, un programme spécial d'assistance technique devrait lui être consacré, a reconnu le même CPA à sa dernière session. Nous espérons que le Conseil fera sienne cette proposition.
A l'instar des nombreuses délégations qui nous ont précédés, notamment les délégations du Pakistan et des Pays-Bas, la délégation malgache se déclare elle aussi favorable à l'intensification des opérations triangulaires des achats locaux et des échanges de produits. A ce sujet, elle est reconnaissante aux pays donateurs qui consacrent déjà en espèces le tiers ou plus du total de leurs contributions en aide alimentaire au PAM et invite les autres à suivre leur exemple afin que le Programme dispose de ressources en espèces suffisantes lui permettant de faire face à ses lourdes obligations et de répondre d'une manière appropriée aux appels pressants de nombreux pays en difficulté.
Pour terminer, la délégation malgache, qui a participé activement aux travaux de la seizième session du Comité de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale, appuie toutes les recommandations dudit Comité, car elles visent justement à améliorer la situation alimentaire dans nos pays.
Jacques WARIN (France): Permettez-moi de vous féliciter pour commencer d'avoir été élue à cette place et de vous voir aujourd'hui présider notre séance.
En novembre prochain notre Conseil tiendra sa lOOème session. J'aurais aimé qu'à six mois de cette échéance symbolique, nous eussions pu nous réjouir d'être sur le point de rayer de la surface du monde deux fléaux qui ont pourtant mobilisé tant d'énergie depuis plus de 40 ans au sein notamment du système des Nations Unies: la faim et la pauvreté.
Notre Organisation a joué un rôle de premier plan dans ces combats. Pour s'adapter, elle a dú évoluer:
- La complexité des problèmes rencontrés l'a amenée à multiplier ses champs d'intervention.
- Elle s'est progressivement dotée de puissants outils d'information et a constitué en son sein un capital d'expertise indéniable dans des secteurs précis relevant de son champ de compétences. Je pense en particulier à la forêt, la pêche, la santé animale, la conservation des sols, etc.
Néanmoins, depuis quelques années, la FAO connaît une crise sans précédent, dont l'origine est financière et dont le Directeur général a eu l'occasion de souligner hier la gravité.
Pourtant, dans le même temps, les Etats Membres lui demandent d'inscrire ses activités dans un cadre rénové, d'intégrer de nouvelles dimensions à ses travaux, notamment le développement durable, la promotion des femmes, la participation populaire, etc.
Mon pays a soutenu les efforts d'adaptation de l'Organisation, mais il regrette en particulier que la crise budgétaire ait gêné le développement de ses activités, et creusé un écart inquiétant entre les programmes de travail et les budgets que nous adoptons d'une part, et les réalisations effectives d'autre part.
La tâche reste donc considérable, et pour la poursuivre notre Organisation doit accroître encore son efficacité, ce qui passe par une plus grande sécurité dans ses recettes budgéraires, et par une concentration des moyens sur un certain nombre de thèmes prioritaires. De ce point de vue, les discussions sur le plan à moyen terme que nous poursuivons à l'heure actuelle au sein des comités sont le moyen de définir clairement un nombre précis de priorités.
C'est à ces conditions que notre Organisation maintiendra sa capacité d'intervention, préservera et même accroîtra ses compétences spécifiques tant au siège que sur le terrain, et qu'elle pourra participer comme c'est nécessaire aux importantes négociations en cours dans le monde.
J'en viens maintenant au point de l'Ordre du Jour dont nous débattons et sur lequel je serai plus bref.
Ma délégation tient à féliciter très sincèrement le Secrétariat pour la clarté et la bonne qualité du document (CL 99/2) dont nous cautionnons la plupart des observations.
Sans revenir sur le détail des informations qui nous sont fournies, je voudrais seulement souligner deux des idées principales que m'a inspirées la lecture de ce document. La première m'est inspirée par l'observation selon laquelle un ralentissement de la croissance de la production alimentaire mondiale pourrait être bénéfique. N'y a-t-il pas un paradoxe à se féliciter de ce que la croissance de la production agricole soit freinée dans certains pays développés alors que plus de la moitié des pays en développement voient leur production alimentaire par habitant décroître?
Vous connaissez les efforts tout particuliers que la communauté européenne a déployés, au détriment de nombre de ses agriculteurs, pour stabiliser les niveaux de production des denrées alimentaires. Le risque existe cependant que, dans le souci d'un meilleur équilibre des productions internationales, les producteurs des pays économiquement développés qui assurent aujourd'hui la plus grande part de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale soient découragés de poursuivre dans cette voie.
Supposons que le système des échanges internationaux devienne complètement ouvert et que la libéralisation entraîne une baisse généralisée et donc des productions agricoles et alimentaires sur les marchés internationaux. Comment pourrait-on être súr que la production des pays en développement prenne immédiatement la relève et que la décrue des stocks mondiaux soit telle que l'aide alimentaire continue d'être assurée et que les exportations des pays en développement continuent d'être écoulées? Voilà la première réflexion.
La deuxième, elle, est plus banale. Elle consiste à souligner l'écart existant entre une situation globalement satisfaisante et des crises régionales très préoccupantes. Dans de nombreux pays en développement, en effet, et en particulier en Afrique, la croissance démographique suit un rythme tel que la croissance de la production vivrière ne permet pas de combler les déficits alimentaires. Les stocks existent bien au plan mondial mais c'est l'accès à l'alimentation qui est défaillant. La situation est encore aggravée par la sécheresse ici, la guerre civile qui fait rage ailleurs.
Je ne voudrais pas conclure cependant sur cette note pessimiste et je saisis cette occasion pour rappeler les engagements qui ont été pris par la communauté internationale - et par la France en particulier - à la faveur de la deuxième Conférence sur les pays les moins avancés, qui s'est tenue à Paris en septembre 1990, et qui consiste à faire de la lutte contre la pauvreté et la faim dans le monde le principal enjeu des années à venir.
Tadeusz STROJVAS (Poland): Madam Chairman, speaking for the first time at this session of the Council, let me express the pleasure and satisfaction of the delegation of Poland in seeing you in the chair. We assure you, the Secretariat and the FAO Council of our full support and cooperation.
Taking the floor on the agenda item Current World Food Situation, I would like to state that the delegation of Poland shares the views so skilfully expressed in the introduction by Mr Dutia, and in the Document CL 99/2. The general picture of world food production globally was encouraging after the good harvests of 1990. The Committee on World Food Security has confirmed that last March, but for a detailed consideration of the item under review, the description of the general picture is not sufficient. Monsieur l'Ambassadeur l'a dit il y a un instant.
FAO must have an accurate, realistic and detailed picture of the situation in this respect. In this connection I wish to bring to your attention and to the attention of the Council an important remark on the complicated picture of food and agriculture in Poland. This situation might also be relevant to other countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
All of us are aware that the above-mentioned region is in the process of fundamental, political, economic and social reforms, The old centrally-planned economies are in a state of liquidation and the post-socialist countries are trying to create market oriented economies and a democratic political and social system.
The agricultural sector is in the first stage of radical reforms. The main features of the agrarian reforms in Eastern Europe are formalization, commercialization and decollectivization. No doubt it is going to be a long process. The new situation has already brought and will continue to bring dramatic impact on food and agriculture in the countries concerned and beyond.
Until now the process of agricultural transformation in post-socialist countries has resulted in the decline of food production. What is difficult to predict at the moment is how long the decline will continue and how deep the recession will be.
In this connection another thing must be put straight, the decline in food and in general agricultural production. This is at least the Polish case, which is a result of small demand or low-volume consumption. There is plenty of food on the market in Poland. The only thing that must be added is that today this food is costly. It was cheap, too cheap even three years ago, so a lot of food was simply wasted.
My delegation wishes to refer to this chapter of the Current World Food Situation, because in the FAO documentation it is either omitted or distorted. The data on food aid are quoted; they are exaggerated, or at least in the case of Poland they are not true. Poland has a very close cooperation with the agricultural sector in FAO and with many EEC countries. A FAO mission, for example, is now in Poland to elaborate a significant programme of assistance on agricultural extension for implementation in the next few years. This is what is needed. We welcome and we highly appreciate this assistance.
I fully share the remarks made yesterday by the delegate of Cameroon on the subject of technical assistance and food aid. The Director-General in his statement yesterday stated that, inter alia, FAO is compiling a dossier with realistic and up-to-date data on the agricultural sector in all European countries. We welcome this initiative and we would like kindly to request of Mr Dutia that these realistic data be included in the FAO documents on the world food situation or on the state of agriculture in the world for the next FAO Conference in November and other FAO groups debating the state of food and agriculture. The delegation of Poland would like to thank Mr Dutia in advance for that consideration.
Adel EL-SARKI (Egypt) (Original language Arabic): At the outset I wish to express my thanks to Mr Dutia for his valuable presentation of document CL 99/2 that deals with the Current World Food Situation. We welcome the FAO assessment of the situation. This document includes figures and facts which made it easy for us to study and make comments on.
In paragraph 6 this document referred to the fact that per caput food production was unfavourable and the majority of developing countries have unfavourable performance in 1990.
We support those who advocate the need to support the developing countries. For this reason Egypt, at the 18th Session of the World Food Council, called for a second green revolution, as well as for regional consultation such as the consultation that took place in Cairo where a declaration was adopted calling for a second green revolution.
This document under discussion reported that in my country we witnessed an increase in per caput food, and this is a reality thanks to the agricultural policy that was set on a scientific basis and implemented with full conviction, in addition to our regular review of this policy in order to correct any possible shortcoming. Furthermore, thanks to this policy, rice, wheat and bean production has had a significant increase.
In paragraphs 9 to 16 of this document reference is made to the decrease in world fish production. This is a source of concern for us. My delegation believes that the Organization plays a major and vital role in promoting fish production. My country pays great attention to the increase in fish production in order to meet the local consumption and to achieve a surplus to be exported. We welcome regional cooperation in this area.
This document also referred to the fact that food supplies have become a source of concern for a number of African countries, and we fully agree on the need to launch campaigns in order to solve this problem. In this connection we welcome the tripartite transactions.
Finally, my delegation calls for the implementation of national policies aimed at increasing food and agricultural production.
Abdesselea ARIFI (Maroc): Je serai très bref. S'agissant du point 4 qui est sounds à notre examen et qui fait l'objet du document CL 99/2, il serait inutile de répéter que, pour la majorité des pays en développement, la production alimentaire reste insuffisante ou diminue face à des besoins croissants.
Le danger de famine reste donc posé dans plusieurs parties du monde. C'est là un défi que la communauté Internationale se doit de relever. La FAO est bien placée en ce sens pour jouer le rôle principal, à condition de lui en donner les moyens par le biais du règlement des contributions des Etats Membres et de la recherche d'autres ressources dont une partie pourrait être utilisée pour renforcer le programme de lutte contre la faim.
Notre Organisation, qui se trouve dans une situation financière sans précédent, est en même temps appelée à affronter des crises alimentaires graves dans plusieurs pays du monde où, si des mesures ne sont pas prises immédiatement, il sera peut-être trop tard pour éviter une grave catastrophe dans les prochains mois.
Ma délégation appuie fermement dans ce sens le contenu des paragraphes 17 et 18 du document et juge qu'une aide immédiate de grande ampleur doit être apportée au pays dont la situation des approvisionnements alimentaires est préoccupante, pays qui se trouvent principalement en Afrique et en Amérique latine. Déjà, les stocks mondiaux de céréales restent proches du seuil minimum de sécurité alimentaire dans certaines régions. Qu'adviendrat-il alors si l'on continue à prélever dans ces mêmes stocks?
S'agissant du Maroc, si la production vivrière a accusé une baisse en 1990, les estimations de production pour la campagne en cours permettent de penser que la récolte 1991 atteindra un niveau acceptable, résultat de precipitations bénéfiques et réparties dans les zones à production céréalières.
Pour terminer, ma délégation appuie les recommandations du rapport de la seizième session du Comité de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale aux travaux de laquelle nous avons activement pris part.
Nusyirwan ZEN (Indonesia): Madam Chairperson, as this is the first time that my delegation takes the floor, allow me at the outset to express our congratulations to you and the distinguished Ambassador of Cameroon on your election as Vice-Chairman of this 99th Council Session. I wish also to use this opportunity to express my delegation's profound thanks for the honour bestowed to Indonesia by unanimously electing me as one of the Vice-Chairmen of this important session of FAO Council. I hope that with the close cooperation from all members of the Council and FAO Secretariat, this task hopefully could be carried out smoothly. Furthermore, my delegation wish to express their appreciation to the Director-General for his important and very informative statement conveyed to the Council yesterday. The Director-General of FAO in his address to the Council highlighted the concerns of the Organization with regard to the world food and agricultural situation and the FAO's efforts towards achieving global food security. We take note with attention those concerns including about the FAO's financial situation.
While the food security situation has some improvement at the global level following the generally good harvests of staple food in 1989 and 1990, however, this progress has not been without a number of highly disquieting features or phenomena. First of all, the recovery has not only been quite uneven, but the long-term tendency to increasing disparity among developing countries has also continued during 1986-90. Only in the Far East has there been a clear upward tendency in per caput food production, whereas in other regions, notably in Africa, the long-term slide has continued throughout the five-year period. The deterioration in the food situation in Africa, where a larger number of countries have been affected by food shortages as a result of drought and/or on-going civil strife, has been a matter of increasing concern for the world community.
Today, as we are again assembled for our 99th Council Meeting amidst the uncertainties of the world situation both in relation with the Gulf Region situation and the still scattered pieces of the Uruguay Round, jigsaws are inevitably causing the uncertain world economic situation to become even more unpredictable. Moreover, natural calamities of unusual magnitude have recently also struck several countries, particularly Bangladesh in the Asia Region.
The adverse impact of these heightened uncertainties are being particularly felt by the developing economies.
As we are all aware, many of the developing economies are closely linked with the Gulf Region as a major source of oil supplies, an area of substantial employment opportunities and a source of remittances derived therefrom, as well as a growing market for exports. Thus, a major disruption in the Gulf Region is bound to have an important bearing on these economies. In the same vein, those developing countries whose economic progress is predicted upon open, export-oriented policies, are going to suffer most from a failure of the Uruguay Round to achieve a balanced and equitable outcome.
My delegation therefore welcomes the encouraging signs that have lately emanated from Geneva. We venture to hope that after the deeply disappointing experience in Brussels, all parties will be more ready to show the necessary political will to resolve the pending problems, including those of particular interest to developing countries, such as tropical products.
My delegation has read document CL 99/2. One of the advantages of FAO as a UN technical agency is its access to and active compilation of statistical data and information, as well as its capability to undertake analytical activities in its field of expertise. All of this is well demonstrated in the Council's document in front of us. The statistical data regarding agricultural production in 1990 remained alarming, especially the food production in some regions. We note with concern that even though the world food production rose 1.8 percent in 1990, food production in developing countries rose only 2.3 percent in 1990, which is below the average growth rate of the 1980s. We also note with concern that out of 112 developing countries, 67 failed to increase per caput food production.
Madam Chairperson, we wish to express our concern on FAO's forecast regarding global food production in 1991. In paragraph 4 of the document it was stated that at the present time, no forecast of global rice production in 1991 can be made. Perhaps more information on this matter could be offered by the Secretariat, as rice is the main food commodity for many countries including Indonesia. Paragraph 5 seems as an expression of pessimism regarding the supply/demand situation on global stocks on wheat and grains. We have reason to worry that in 1991/1992 the margin of world food security provided by the current food stocks, including cereal, would be inadequate to prevent supply shortages and escalating prices. As to Indonesia, our people will continue to do their best to maintain its successful efforts in rice self-sufficiency production. The development of the agricultural and irrigation networks in Indonesia continues to enjoy high priority; one of its important goals is to consolidate food self-sufficiency. In this current fiscal year 1991/1992, 75 000 hectares of new paddy fields will be established. Likewise, efforts will also be made to continue to build large, medium and small-scale irrigation networks in several regions of the country. Those efforts will be made with the purpose to raise our capability continuously to produce rice in line with rising demands.
Madam Chairperson, Indonesia will continue to implement its policies and strategies for agricultural development through institutionalized technological change reflected in higher yields and greater production of high value commodities. The main emphasis of our agricultural policy is on acceleration of the pace of modernization to achieve production increases substantially higher than population growth, consolidation of self-sufficiency in grains, diversification of agricultural production and rural employment opportunities, strengthening of institutional support and the provision of appropriate technology packages to farmers, as well as economic incentive and supports price measures. We are aware that in maintaining the momentum of growth in the agricultural sector in the coming years we cannot rely totally on increased rice production alone. We must explore and develop new possibilities in the agricultural sector. Therefore, continuous efforts need to be made in order to raise the productivity of other agricultural outputs, such as secondary crops, horticulture, estates, fishery and stock-raising. To assist the small-holder stock farmers, a large-scale artificial insemination programme for cattle is currently being launched. Furthermore, in order to enhance the food-nutrition as well as living standards of the rural population, a campaign for better utilization of backyards is currently being launched by the Government by providing an appropriate backyard technology package.
As one of the biggest food producing and consuming countries with a population of more than 180 million, hopefully the successful food crops production in Indonesia could be seen as a meaningful contribution towards the achievement of the stability and security of the food situation in the region.
Ma GENG-OU (China) (Original language Chinese): Madam Chairperson, first of all please allow me to congratulate you on your election as Vice-Chairman and to chair this meeting. At the same time I would also like to express my appreciation for Mr. Dutia's introduction of this subject. I think these
statements will facilitate our deliberation. In general the world food growth and food situation in 1990 is continuing to improve. The output of cereals has gained an increase of 4.3 percent following its recovery in 1989, and reached 1957 million tonnes. For the first year since 1987 the world cereal output has exceeded a total utilization as the world stocks have increased after declining for three consecutive years, reaching the minimum stock level FAO considers for safeguarding world food security. However, we must be fully aware that a chronic problem of poverty and hunger is still with us. As the development of world agriculture is far from being balanced, world food security cannot just rely on the total increase of food production, but also depends on the fair distribution of food and the developing countries' access to food. Food production in developing countries is too critical and the food security situation there is fragile. Last year food production in developed countries was increased by 6.9 percent while only 2 percent increase was registered in developing countries which is below the population growth. The per capita staple food production in most developing countries continues to deteriorate while the number of people affected by hunger and malnutrition keeps growing. This is particularly so in Africa where the situation is worse and many countries are facing serious food shortages.
We note with great concern that when the close international economic relations are bringing more and more influence on agricultural development in various countries, the external environment for agricultural development in developing countries has not been duly improved. The demand in the international agricultural market is weak, whereas trade protectionism is becoming more critical. While the food price is strong, the price of other agricultural products is generally low, particularly the price of major economic crops which are important to developing countries' export.
The trade conditions for agricultural pilots in the developing countries will drop to 10.9 million tonnes, which is far below the 1989/90 level. This will not only affect the developing countries to earn foreign exchange from export and generate the necessary funds for agricultural development, but also affects their access to food. We are of the view that the backward agriculture in the developing countries is a major issue in current world food and agriculture, also a major obstacle in a global agriculture growth and development. Agricultural development in these countries is the only way to economic prosperity, and the eradication of hunger and malnutrition. This is also an important way to promote international agriculture trade, agriculture development in developing countries, and to solve some major problems in world food and agriculture. Therefore it is not only in the interests of developing countries but also in the common interest of countries in the world to place agriculture development of developing countries in an exceedingly important position.
At present, agriculture in developing countries is affected by many factors - international, socio-economic and technical as well as the international economic environment. If these factors are not removed, then any efforts to accelerate world agricultural development will not show any tangible results. Therefore, developing countries must take the initiative to develop their own agriculture while the international community, especially the developed countries, need to make joint and relentless efforts to improve the international trade conditions for developing
countries and to create an international economic environment favourable for development. It is our hope that FAO shall continue to play its unique role in enhancing international cooperation in agriculture and facilitating agricultural development. We also hope that the various parties concerned will make positive contributions so that the Uruguay Round of negotiations can be concluded not only early, but fruitfully.
I would like now to say something about food production and agricultural development in China. In 1990, the Chinese Government has further strengthened the position of agriculture whilst stabilizing basic agricultural policies since 1979, as well as carrying on with reforms. My Government also took a number of policy measures such as increasing agricultural input, raising the price of agricultural products, intensifying agricultural research, education extension and servicing in rural areas. Furthermore, we were blessed with good weather last year. As a result we had bumper harvests in large areas. Total output of cereals reached more than 400 million tonnes. A record output was obtained both in cereals and aquatic products.
Nevertheless, the base of agriculture in China is still rather poor and many restricting elements in its development have not been eliminated. Our Government will continue to attach importance to agriculture and will adopt all necessary measures to foster an all-round development of the rural economy. During the period of the Five-year National Development Programme our Government will place emphasis on the following:
(1) Deepening reform whilst sticking with the household contract response system with income-linked with output. Socialized service before, during and after production will be actively developed and perfected in order to improve the economic environment for agricultural development and to further bring farmers' initiative into play; appropriate skill management will be implemented wherever possible.
(2) An increase in agricultural input policies in favour of agriculture and agro-industries will be carried out. Efforts will be made to further develop the agricultural infrastructure, to increase irrigated areas and agricultural supplies, and to strengthen agricultural development in a sustainable way.
(3) Gradually putting in order the agricultural price and marketing system. The agricultural prices will be increased accordingly. A relatively rational price ratio between industrial and agricultural products will be established, so that the situation regarding all under-priced major agricultural products such as cereals, cotton, edible oil and sugar can be improved. In doing so, farm prices will be increased year after year and at the same time, the ratio for a subsidy on consumer prices - and I mean by that the selling price lower than the purchasing price - will be adjusted.
(4) By relying on technical progress efforts will be made to increase per unit yield, economic efficiency and to increase the effective supply of agricultural products. We will develop and perfect our agricultural research and extension institutions, stabilize and increase agro-research personnel. At the same time, we shall try to allocate sufficient funds for research and extension, and convert research findings into production forces.
(5) We are actively guiding the healthy development of rural industries, absorbing rural labour and fostering the all-round development of the rural economy.
With all these measures, we are confident that agriculture will develop in a stable and sustained way, and will make its due contribution to agricultural development in the world.
Teruo MIYAKE (Japan): We are very glad to see you, Madam Chairman, at this important Council meeting. We are sure that under your able guidance, this important session of the Council will be a really fruitful one. We must also express our appreciation of the lucid introduction made by Dr Dutia.
My country has a great interest in stable food supply and demand as the largest net food importer in the world. To achieve the stabilization of world food supply and demand, my country deems that every effort should be made continuously by every member in the world towards this goal.
The performance of world food production was good in 1990. World cereal production was 1 951 million tonnes, which means an 8 million tonne increase over the year before. In spite of this good harvest, recovery of stock levels are estimated to be small because of the continuous increase in consumption. Global cereal carryover stocks at the end of the 1990/91 crop year is estimated to be 325 million tonnes which is about 18 percent of annual world consumption volume, at the level which FAO deems necessary for world food security. Food aid volume will decrease to 10.9 million tonnes in 1990/91, reflecting the fact that an exceptionally large volume was shipped to Eastern European countries last year.
A further increase in food production will be necessary from the viewpoint of world food security. My country strongly hopes that a flexible approach to production increase will be taken responding to the world food supply and demand situation in order to avoid a structural surplus on a mid- and long-term basis. We must carefully monitor various trends in the food and agricultural sector because on a mid- and long-term basis there are so many uncertain factors such as policy change in both major producing and consuming countries, production fluctuation owing to weather changes, and population in developing countries. Bearing these in mind, my country hopes that FAO will play its advisory and information-giving roles through country officers and relevant fora such as CFS, COAG and CCP.
The progressive growth of the world food and agricultural market is indispensable to accomplish global economic development. Bearing this in mind, we are fully aware that the most important task in the Uruguay Round is the formation of a new trade order for agricultural products through the establishment of new GATT Rules and disciplines which would cover all measures that have a direct bearing on agricultural trade. Japan has participated actively in the Uruguay Round. We have submitted a comprehensive proposal which includes provisions regarding food security. We sincerely hope that this Round will result in a successful conclusion, and will contribute to world agricultural trade and to the harmonious development of agriculture.
Keeping in mind the various stages of economic and social development among the developing countries, Japan is aware that there are severe difficulties for developing countries in attaining the long-term objectives of the Uruguay Round. In this connection, we have paid great attention to these countries as demonstrated by our offer on tropical products. In particular, it is necessary to allow flexibility for net food-importing developing countries in the reduction of support and protection in the Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) scheme, by taking into account the necessity of development programmes for the countries concerned.
It is one of the paramount responsibilities for any nation to supply foodstuffs which are the most basic goods for their national daily lives. We are convinced that serious concerns over maintaining a stable supply of basic foodstuffs, indispensable for the national diet and food security, are equally shared by those countries which have increased their dependence on imports of food, as a result of their having made efforts to improve market access, including the reduction of import barriers, in the course of the past GATT negotiations and economic structural adjustments.
As for Japan, as a result of various market-opening measures, the self-sufficiency ratio has declined to as low as 48 percent on a calorie basis as well as 30 percent for cereals. No other developed country in the world has such a low self-sufficiency ratio. To put it differently, Japan, with a population of more than 120 million, was able to achieve Japanese market opening because it has continued to maintain its domestic production for basic foodstuffs.
We hope that serious thought will be given to developing countries on this issue of food security. There are cases in which developing countries categorized as exporters are not adequately achieving sufficient international competitive power. One of the objectives of the Uruguay Round is to make agricultural trade move forward in the direction of liberalization with no exception. The reduction in border protection applied equally to all countries without doubt would adversely affect domestic agriculture in such exporting countries. The assurance of production for foodstuffs would become a safety ground for those countries, since they will be able to maintain the required domestic production level of their basic foodstuffs.
Taking this into account, Japan has actively participated in the international effort to assist developing countries in their economic development and structural adjustment. Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) has been expanding progressively. Japan is currently making steady efforts to accomplish the Fourth Medium-Term Target on Official Development Assistance, striving to increase the aggregate amount of ODA over five years, from 1988 to 1992, to more than 50 billion US dollars, which is twice as large as the aggregate volume of ODA disbursed during the five year period from 1983 to 1987.
In this context, priority is given to international cooperation in rural and agricultural development, health and medical care and education, especially pursuing the direct benefit of poor people, which would mitigate food shortages through increasing food production and improving the living standard of farmers. This is an effort to respond to basic human needs.
Turning to the subject of fisheries, my country deems that the proper management and use of fishery resources within 200 nautical miles by coastal developing countries is indispensable for improving their food and nutrition conditions and even their living conditions. Fishery resources is an important animal protein resource and Japan, as one of the largest fishing nations based on the history and experience achieved for several hundred years, earnestly believes that the importance of use of fishery resources will further increase, and augmentation of fishery products can be achieved in future through appropriate management and rational utilization. In this context, Japan is convinced that FAO must continue to play a substantive leading role in development and management of fisheries and promotion of aquaculture from the viewpoint of sustainabl development with strengthening its activities in information collection, analysis and dissemination in fishery sectors.
Let my delegation touch upon the alarming example which may lead to harm the concept of the sustained development in the fisheries. That is the sustainable use of the largest marine mammals - whales.
Whale stocks are one of the natural resources which human beings can rationally utilize. However, since whales are wildlife animals, uncontrolled whaling activities could have an adverse effect on the conservation of resources. For example, American style whaling in the 19th century and whaling activities in the Antarctic before the Second World War could be criticized as a means of over-exploitation.
Therefore, the International Convention for Regulation of Whaling, IWC, has agreed to enhance the rational utilization of whale stocks while preventing over-exploitation, based on scientific information.
Since 1976, when the IWC adopted the New Management Procedure, necessary protection measures have been implemented to the species which were over-exploited and only the stocks which were in healthy condition were allowed to be commercially harvested. In this sense, the moratorium on all commercial whaling in 1982 is not only against the purpose of the Convention, but negates the idea of sustainably utilizing the whale resources.
It is a growing need for the world to produce more food because of rapid increase of the population. Since the capacity of land is limited and there is a possible area in the sea to develop and rationally utilize, it is very important to enhance the rational utilization of marine resources. However, since utilization of marine resources has a nature of hunting, ecological consideration should be given. At this time, utilizing the marine resources evenly is a wise approach. Therefore, it is inappropriate to protect some resources totally from utilization or to utilize others heavily without scientific justifications.
In recent discussions of the whaling issue, there is an opinion that any utilization of whales should be abandoned even if the scientific evidence can prove the robust and healthy abundance of whale stocks. This kind of opinion will be one which contravenes the sustainable development of marine resources - that is, rational conservation, utilization and environmental protection at the same time. If we accept such an opinion in the case of
whales, we are gravely concerned that there will be no ground in the future to stop such an opinion over other marine resources (especially fish, on which we have enough scientific evidence) but the politics will not allow the wise use of such foodstuffs which are given evenly to the human being by God.
LE PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias, señor Delegado del Japón. Lo felicitamos por su ejemplarizante intervención.
An KWANG WOOK (Korea, Republic of): First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Korean delegation, to express my congratulations to the FAO Secretariat for the comprehensive documents which we have before us.
As in the past, document CL 99/2 and its supplement provide a useful overview of the main trends in production, consumption and trade of food and agricultural products.
The Korean delegation notes with satisfaction that world food production in 1989/90 has increased and that world cereal stocks have also increased considerably.
From the document, we can see that world food production rose by 1.8 percent in 1990, following the strong recovery in 1989 from the setback of the previous two years and that the ratio of global cereal carry-overs to trend utilization in 1991/92 is forecast to reach the top end of the 17-18 percent range, which FAO considers to be the minimum necessary for safeguarding world food security.
However, we regret that the picture is not homogeneous. At regional level the situation continues to be gloomy. It should be specially mentioned that the situation has become even worse for developing countries.
Agricultural production remains well below the rate of population growth in most developing countries. Therefore, even though estimated total food production in developing countries registerd an increase of 2.1 percent in 1989 and 2.4 percent in 1990, it could not prevent the actual volume of production per person from dropping in many areas.
Besides, in developing countries, the serious debt problem and the outflow of capital has led to the weakening of food import ability.
As a result, there are still regions in some African, Asian and Latin American countries which are combatting, as before, hunger and malnutrition.
Mr Chairman, as we are all aware, agriculture in most developing countries is the ultimate source of economic growth and therefore, it is impossible to imagine general economic and social developments in those countries without improvements in agricultural technology and productivity.
In addition, nobody will doubt the fact that there is a close relation between agriculture and environment, especially in small, densely populated and economically weak countries. Vulnerable groups in many parts of developing countries may accelerate the depletion of natural reesources for their survival, and this may possibly lead to a global crisis.
In this regard, I firmly believe that the international community should, with joint efforts, create a favourable international economic and political environment for more increase of food production to assure world food security and to protect ecological resources, especially in the food-deficit developing countries.
In line with this, I am of the opinion that a lot of attention should be devoted in GATT Uruguay Round negotiations to the special problems of developing countries such as relatively weak production base. This will give them a better chance to develop agriculture in a more balanced way and to acquire a more favourable competitive position.
At the same time, I hope that FAO will make greater contributions in promoting sustainable world agricultural development and in fulfilling the noble task of eradicating hunger and malnutrition. In this connection, I regard the initiative of this Organization in convening an International Conference on Nutrition in 1992 as a timely and adequate response.
Vanich VARIKUL (Thailand): I would like to congratulate you, Madam Chairperson, as Vice-Chairperson - I am pleased to see you chairing the meeting this morning. I also wish to thank Dr Dutia for document CL 99/2, which provides us with comprehensive information on the global food situation over the past few years. My delegation wishes to offer a few comments, as follows:
First, we are happy to note that the global cereal output increased by four percent in 1990 over the previous year, to reach a record 1 951 million tonnes. Production in both developing and developed country groups rose for each of the three main categories of cereals, namely, wheat, coarse grains and rice. Global cereal output also exceeded consumption in 1990/91 for the first time since 1986/87; as a result, world cereal stocks increased. However, nearly all of the increase in the world carry-over stocks are expected to be in developed countries, particularly in the wheat inventories of Canada and the United States, while in many developing countries, particularly in Africa, stocks of cereal are expected to be insufficient. Therefore, this Council should request international aid agencies and bilateral donors, especially those with surplus stocks, to help those developing countries without adequate reserves to build up stocks.
Secondly, we would like to draw your attention to Table 2 of document CL 99/2 which shows that world paddy production is estimated to have reached a new record of 519 million tonnes in 1990, about 0.6 percent above the 1989 level. The situation of the world food security, however, did not improve since the consumer rice prices have risen in many countries, thus adversely affecting consumption level. In this regard, my delegation fully agrees with the recommendation as proposed by the Intergovernmental Group
on Rice last April, that countries that have removed the general consumer subsidies are assisted in their efforts to give greater access to food to the poor.
Thirdly, we fully agree that there is considerable potential for further increases in fish production in Asia, as mentioned in Paragraph 16 of document CL 99/2. We believe that small scale aquaculture production can significantly contribute to the diet and income of the rural population in other regions too, not only in Africa as referred to in the paragraph. We also wish to express our appreciation to the Japanese vessels for their voluntary reduction of fishing, in order to cooperate with the international community in solving the decline of world squid price, as stated in paragraph 15. We think this action is an excellent example, and we hope that it will be followed by other countries.
Fourthly, let me now draw your attention to the issue of per caput food production. It has reportedly performed unfavourably in most developing countries in 1990. In the case of Thailand, rice production declined by 17 percent from the previous year. This reduction was due to drought at the beginning of the planting season, and floods during the harvesting period. For the dry season rice crop, output was damaged by brown planthoppers. The Thai Government controlled this pest by substituting rice with other crops to disrupt the life cycle of the pest.
Concerning food production as a whole, Thailand's per caput food production tends to decline, due to a number of factors. The most crucial factors are degradation of the land resource, limited availability of arable land for agricultural expansion, and increasing competition for land from non-farm activities.
Finally, we would like to stress that the increase in competition and protection in world agricultural trade have put further pressure on declining prices of output and on the volumes of export. Such circumstances represented disincentives to farmers in developing countries to efficiently increase thir farm production.
R. ALLEN (United Kingdom): The United Kingdom delegation would like to congratulate the Secretariat on the production of this paper, which we consider accurately summarizes the world food situation. FAO, through its Global Information and Early Warning System and related activities, does an excellent job in monitoring world food production and giving early notice of trends, and for this the Organization deserves full credit.
This paper highlights a very worrying trend, the increasing dependence of developing countries for their food security on surpluses produced in the developed world. Table 3 shows, and a number of other delegations have highlighted, that there has been a decline in per capita food production in the developing world since 1981/85 and a corresponding increase in developed countries. The difference is now a staggering 515 kg per capita.
This trend is particularly worrying as there are indications that food production in developed countries may not continue to rise. Environmental concerns - for example, the contamination of drinking water by pesticides
and nitrate - are one factor suggesting a shift may well take place towards a lower input form of agriculture in the developed countries. There is also increasing political concern in countries such as mine about the costs -financial as well as environmental - of building up and storing large food surpluses.
In this uncertain climate it becomes even more important that food production in developing countries should increase at a rate significantly faster than population growth. In absolute terms, a 2.3 percent increase in food production in developing countries in 1990 is not a poor performance; however, it failed to match population growth. It is self-evident but sometimes understated that per capita food availability is related to population size as well as food production. The faster the population grows, the greater must be the increase in food production to maintain per capita food availability. Land resources are finite, and, notwithstanding technological advances, the capacity to increase food production on a sustainable basis is not unlimited.
Paragraph 17 specifies African countries affected or threathened by food shortages. The immediate causes are civil strife and/or drought. However, overall per capita food production in Africa has declined by 10 percent since the exceptionally good year of 1986. Paragraph 17 highlights the problems in the Sahel, but there is a more general concern about the productivity of the semi-arid areas of Africa. Evidence accumulates that, given existing technology, these areas are not only, at best, marginal for sustainable agricultural production, but also highly susceptible to environment degradation. There is a need to provide a political and institutional environment which enables farmers on higher potential land, to increase food production whilst a major international research effort seeks to develop technologies which allow the seem-arid areas to be brought into sustainable production.
We are little surprised at the limited discussion in this paper of the food situation in the Soviet Union, given the prospects for agricultural reforms in that country and its pivotal position on international grain markets. On a point of statistics, Table 1 shows annual growth in Soviet crop production at 6.6 percent in 1989 and only 2.9 percent in 1990. The bumper Soviet harvest was in fact last summer, as the latest International Wheat Council statistics show, with faster growth in both wheat and coarse grain production in 1990 than 1989.
Finally, Table 4 presents results on food import bills up to 1989 and shows rapidly rising import values for both 1988 and 1989 in the Least Developed Countries. It would have been useful to see estimates for the position in 1990, a year of declining world cereal prices.
Sra. María Concepción VIANA DEL BARRIO (Venezuela): Nuestra Delegación, señora Presidente, será sumamente breve debido a que el análisis que habíamos efectuado del documento CL 99/2 coincide en mucho con lo que se ha expresado en esta sala. Sobre todo queremos adherirnos a los conceptos emitidos por los distinguidos Embajadores de Colombia, Cuba, Kenya y el distinguido delegado de México.
Como primer punto quisiéramos decir que cons ideramqs que dada la situación actual de la seguridad alimentaria, hablar de fragilidad en la misma, es débil. Si nosotros nos ponemos a analizar las estadísticas que nos han sido mostradas en este documento, veremos que precisamente es en aquellos países en los cuales el índice de crecimiento demográfico es mayor, en los que preçisamente está cayendo la producción alimentaria. Lo cual se traduce, sin duda, en una reducción violenta en el indice de producción alimentaria per cápita. Esto agrava la situación porque estamos enfrentando adicionalmente las consecuencias de esta situación. Las consecuencias, por supuesto, son fenómenos de desnutrición y de enfermedades asociadas al proceso de desnutrición de nuestras poblaciones.
Por otra parte, estos países, que ya tienen economías muy deprimidas, se ven obligados para comprar los alimentos que les faltan, porque no los tienen dentro de su producción, a recurrir a aquella parte de sus finanzas que están dedicadas muchas veces a programas prioritarios de desarrollo, coartando estos programas y retrasando el proceso que podia haberse iniciado. En otros casos en que podría ser todavía una situación más grave, tienen que recurrir a los préstamos financieros internacionales complicando su situación de deuda externa. En cualquiera de los dos casos significan el freno para su posible desarrollo.
Por último, debemos compartir lo que han expresado otros delegados, sobre todo en el área de América Latinay el Caribe, manifestando la inquietud para que la FAO nos ayude a conseguir una solución a este problema que nos está afectando, ya que como se dice en el documento, por tercer año consecutivo han caído las produceiones de alimentos en nuestra región. Por ello, debemos unirnos a esta solicitud y augurarnos que la FAO pueda resolver sus problemas financieros internos para podernos prestar una mayor colaboración.
Vishnu BHAGWAN (India): I should like to thank the Secretariat for a very comprehensive and informative document on the current world food situation. We very much appreciate the clear and concise introduction by Dr Dutia of this document. My delegation notes with satisfaction the increase in the global production of supplies and stocks of food and cereals. However, there are a few disquieting features, such as that there are certain regions which are facing serious food shortages. The per capita production in the majority of developing countries has gone down, whereas their overall growth rate is also lower. It is quite concerning that the developing countries are more and more becoming dependent on the developed countries for their food supplies. One can reach only one conclusion, that world food security is precarious, and we are far from achieving world food security.
There is also the problem of malnutrition and hunger among the billion-plus poor people of the Third World. There is the problem of adequate access to food supplies for the vulnerable groups which requires a greater and deeper analysis of socio-economic indicators such as prices of cereals and other foods, wage rates, stock levels by farmers and traders, malnutrition rates and starvation-related deaths. There is also the problem of development of the specially disadvantaged groups such as women and tribals.
These qualitative considerations are of the utmost importance if we are to think of a suitable food security system keeping the overall objective of growth with equity.
My delegation participated in the meeting of CFS which considered many of these issues. We fully endorse the recommendations of this Committee, which will also be considered here under agenda item 5.
When we are looking for a stable and just new world order in the post-cold war era, social conditions and economic prospects of the Third World where most of the planet's people live have to improve. The basic problem of agricultural production, poverty, malnutrition and hunger have to be attended to on a priority and on a sustainable basis. This can only be done by building up national capacities in the countries in order to enable them to increase their production so that they are able not only to meet short-term emergency shortages but also are able to meet their long-term requirements for food. This has to be primarily attended to by national governments in following appropriate agricultural production policies supported by infrastructure development in the form of provision of appropriate inputs in the right quantity at the right time and right price, along with market support. However, these efforts have to be supported by international assistance.
I should like to mention the experience that we have had in India. During the mid-1960s we started on a programme of agricultural development based on modern technology. We adopted a policy of utilizing modern technology having an integrated approach of providing all the requisite inputs to the farmer and backed it up with infrastructure support in the form of support prices, marketing and credit. This has brought very good results in our country where the production has increased considerably. From 1980/1981 of 130 million tonnes, we are expecting a bumper crop in the year 1991 of 177 million tonnes. However, this does not mean that we do not have problems. We are facing two main challenges in our agriculture today. Number 1, we have to break the barrier of yield or provision per hectare of most of the important cereals including the coarse grains. Secondly, we have the problem of regional disparities in production as well as in productivity. We would welcome bilateral and multilateral support in this area. These are going to be our main concern in the next national five-year plan in agricultural sector.
The international community and national governments must encourage and sustain the efforts of organizations such as FAO and strengthen it further to meet the new challenges. If the industrialized countries meet the internationally endorsed target of 0.7 percent of GNP development aid it would not be difficult to find the requisite resources. It is rather unfortunate that at a time when challenges are so great and so much is required to be done, not even in today's favourable political climate are normal contributions being received by FAO from its members. We have to review our priority and our actions in order to urgently resolve the problem of world food security.
LA PRESIDENTE: Hemos llegado a la hora en que debemos levantar la sesión, fijada para las 12.30. Están en lista los siguientes oradores: Portugal, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo, Líbano; y dos observadores: Comunidad Económic Europea (CEE) y El Salvador. Levantamos la sesión y convocamos, como ha sido convenido, a las dos y media de la tarde.
Meeting rose at 12.30 hours
La séance est levée à 12 h 30
Se levanta la sesión a las 12.30 horas