K. Reports of the technical committees
IV. Forestry and forest products
V. Information and publications
VII. Joint meeting - agriculture and forestry
Rural institutions and services
1. The Technical Committee reviewed the work of the Rural Institutions and Services Division in its general aspects. It noted that the Division was called upon to handle a mounting demand for technical assistance, as evidenced by a 50 percent increase in its share of the EPTA budget for FAO from 1959 to 1962, a very much greater budget under various Trust Funds, and in the buildup of projects financed under the United Nations Special Fund. This substantial expansion of the Division's field program would, the Committee was informed, necessitate a reinforcement of the Headquarters and regional staff, as explained in the 1962-63 budget proposals. The Committee was further informed that the arrangement of work within the Division would be improved if regrouped in four Branches, instead of three as hitherto, and if some slight alterations were made in their titles.
2. The Committee then turned to an examination of the work of the Division as set forth in the Director-General's report of The work of FAO 1960-61, and in the Program of Work and Budget 1962-63. It expressed appreciation of the work carried out during the past biennium, and gave broad approval, subject to the following comments, of the proposals for the next two-year period.
Agricultural education and extension
3. In considering the work of the Agricultural Education and Extension Branch the Committee stressed that well-trained people must be available to teach agriculture at all levels. There being such a great need for teachers, delegates pointed out that the expansion of training raised a serious problem. To ensure that present numbers were maintained, and new recruits attracted, it was vital to have satisfactory conditions of employment.
4. The Committee emphasized that educational work of both the formal and informal kind, i.e. institutional and extension, and research work should be closely linked and kept in harmony. In the early stages, when education and extension are of the utmost importance, research work should also be given urgent attention, particularly in its applied aspects. For basic research it may be possible in some instances to rely on the work done in the more developed countries.
5. A proper balance between theoretical and practical training had always to be considered. The extension worker should keep in touch with research so closely that he always has a full understanding of any new techniques he chooses to recommend. Research, strictly related to local conditions, could support the formulation of plans, and therefore research institutes of a national or regional character should be encouraged.
6. Specialists trained in advanced schools and universities are too few. Their work can be supplemented to a valuable extent by persons trained in middle-level schools and institutions, or in specially arranged courses.
7. Several delegations underlined the potentialities of rural youth activities and suggested that FAO could do more in this field.
8. The Committee concurred in the policy of the Branch to place major stress on the training of extension workers and on assisting the developing countries to organize extension services. A particular type of extension work to be given encouragement was the establishment of family and school gardens in rural areas, and the Committee noted that UNICEF has provided financial assistance for the employment of extension experts who would concentrate on projects of this kind. It was further remarked that UNICEF was collaborating with FAO in a comprehensive nutrition and extension training program for the African continent.
9. The Committee discussed the preparation of manuals for the use of extension workers and school teachers, and it was informed that there is provision in 1962-63, vice paragraph 29 of Chapter VI of the Program of Work and Budget, for a project aimed at alleviating the shortage of Spanish language textbooks.
10. The question of possible duplication by UNESCO of FAO's efforts in the field of agricultural education was raised. In response to the question, the FAO secretariat reported on the continuing consultations between the two agencies designed not only to avoid duplication but also to ensure best possible service to common Member Governments at minimum cost. The report on the consultations between UNESCO and FAO held in September and October 1960, which was the principal document describing the respective responsibilities of the two agencies in the field of agricultural education was made available to the delegates. The report, endorsed by the Directors-General of the two agencies recognized the joint concern of the two agencies and stipulated that FAO had primary responsibility for agricultural education as such, while UNESCO assisted in respect of general educational aspects. This agreement, in the opinion of the Committee, should be strictly observed, and FAO should give it constant attention.
11. With regard to relevant observations made by delegates the secretariat stated that it advocated the creation of new institutions only if there was no possibility of strengthening and/or reorienting existing institutions. The Committee expressed the opinion that the grouping of countries for common use of facilities for higher education and research was to be encouraged.
Organization of agricultural services
12. The Committee recognized that increasing attention needed to be given to improving the over-all administrative framework for all activities in the broad field of food and agriculture. This work is currently carried out in the Agricultural Education and Administration Branch. In view of the increase in volume of work in the education and extension field and the importance attached to work in the organization and administration field, to which attention was recently drawn by the FAO Forward Appraisal, the proposal had been made to set up a separate Branch to deal with questions of agricultural organization and administration.
13. The proposed new Branch would have two broad fields of work. In addition to dealing with questions of over-all organizational structure for work in food and agriculture generally, the Branch would also be concerned specifically with the problems of organization of agricultural research work. While ideally it may be desirable for FAO's work in research, extension and education to be handled in the same Branch, the total volume of work in the old Agricultural Education and Administration Branch had become too large for efficient operation. It was therefore proposed to transfer the unit dealing with the organization of agricultural research to the new Branch. It was felt that, under this arrangement, while the grouping of subjects would still remain homogeneous, the distribution of workload would become more equitable. The desired co-ordination of work in these areas would be maintained by the Director's office.
14. In the field of research, the Branch is concerned with the organizational aspects. The Branch will continue to advise on the most appropriate structure, facilities, procedures and arrangements that will facilitate the design of research activities, the determination of the number, kinds and location of research institutes or experimental units required, and procedures for relating research programs to national agricultural development plans, and in particular to machinery for ensuring an intimate working relationship between research and extension. In 1962-63 it is proposed to assist Member Governments in dealing with these matters through the preparation of a publication on comparative systems of research organization, a survey of research facilities, and advising on Special Fund projects concerned with the development of research facilities.
15. The Division had been requested to an increasing extent to advise governments on the over-as structure of food and agricultural services. Provision has been made in the 1962-63 proposed program of work to render such advice through various means including surveys, country studies and the preparation of publications on comparative systems of organization for agricultural development. In this connection, the Committee agreed that there was no blueprint for this subject which could be used in every country and at all stages of development. The governments should be able to consider the advantages and disadvantages of different systems so that they could draw their own conclusions and adapt other countries' experience to suit their own conditions and manpower resources.
16. A major part of this Branch's work consists of advice rendered to national governments through the assignment of senior agricultural administrators to deal specifically with the overall problems of organizational structure. A second and equally important method of assisting governments in this area is to ensure that organizational aspects of recommendations in specialized technical fields are in harmony with the over-all structure.
17. The Committee noted with satisfaction the dose working relationships established in this area between FAO and the United Nations Division of Public Administration and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The co-operation with the United Nations Division of Public Administration mostly took the form of joint working arrangements at the country level between agricultural organization and public administration advisers. Joint meetings are also held. Collaboration with the International Bank [involves briefing the members of its missions and review of their recommendations in the field of agricultural organization.
18. The Committee recognized that the implementation of well prepared development plans was in many cases hindered by weaknesses in organizational structure preventing the limited number of technical personnel available from performing their functions effectively. There was general agreement that inadequate systems of organization and lack of administrative experience were serious barriers to progress in many countries, and that ad assistance possible should be given to remedy those deficiencies. Although certain delegations expressed some reservations about the need to set up a separate Branch to carry out this work, the Committee agreed on the whole to the proposals put forward in the Division's Program of Work and Budget.
Land tenure and settlement
19. The Committee noted that the emphasis in the work of the Land Tenure and Settlement Branch in the last two years had been shifting from regional activities to country projects, and that this implied increased work at FAO Headquarters. Henceforth the Branch would concentrate its efforts in three main directions: (l) strengthening its intelligence service; (2) establishment of agrarian research and training institutes, (3) increasing attention to projects in Asia and Africa. The first and third would entail new staff appointments.
20. The Committee welcomed the projected Agrarian Research and Training Institute for Asia and the Far East to be established in Malaya with the help of the Special Fund. Some delegations, although coming from outside the region looked forward to getting useful help from the Institute.
21. Several delegations drew attention to the subject of land consolidation, and stressed that when farmers had been persuaded to consolidate, it was absolutely essential to take precautions against further fragmentation. It was also necessary to follow up farming reorganization with effective extension work and good credit facilities.
22. The Committee noted the danger of technical developments being attempted ahead of land reform, and pointed out the desirability of prior or at least simultaneous attention being given to institutional factors. It considered this to be a problem which concerned both new and old countries, and was wider than land tenure since the whole structure of agriculture was involved. The problem was one of an exceptionally difficult character because of its social implications.
23. The Committee expressed the general opinion that if FAO could help member countries solve their land reform problems, it would be doing a most valuable service.
24. Delegates generally welcomed the prospect of a Land Tenure Seminar to be held in the next biennium, possibly in the Sudan.
25. The Committee suggested that there was a need for the outposting of a staff member to serve as regional land tenure and settlement officer in the Near East, and also for such an officer in North Africa.
26. The attention of the Committee was drawn to a resolution of the recent Conference in Punta del Este which dealt with agrarian reform and urged that the question be given very high priority by all governments of Latin America. FAO's help was needed in this region and approaches had been already made concerning the setting up of a regional Agrarian Research and Training Institute together with a number of subregional centers. The Committee was informed that an offer had been made by the University of Chile.
Co-operatives, credit and rural sociology
27. Turning to the Co-operatives, Credit and Rural Sociology Branch, the Committee agreed that the new title was an improvement on the former one of Rural Welfare. The Branch's main concern was with small farmers, who comprise the greater part of rural populations and who had the greatest need for assistance. If they were to get help in good time, they should be organized in groups, such as co-operatives. The work of the Branch had a clear sociological bias, which was the justification for including a rural sociologist on its staff.
28. The Committee agreed that FAO should continue to study all forms of joint undertaking in agriculture and not just the traditional types of co-operatives. In many countries the spontaneous growth of co-operatives could not yet be expected, and in these countries it was recognized by FAO that governments for some years be fostering co-operatives paternally by providing specially trained supervisory staff and financial aid. The Committee warned that care should be taken to ensure that such encouragement of cooperatives did not stifle the growth of self-reliance.
29. The Committee supported the Branch's plans for exploring new spheres and aspects of farming in which state initiative is combined with private action.
30. The Committee welcomed information on the scheme called " Spare Time Production for Gain " as explained in two recent FAO booklets. The Branch was requested to extend its enquiries for the purpose of discovering the potential for development of work in this area and, depending on the findings, to undertake one or two pilot projects.
31. Several delegates reminded the Committee that technological progress alone did not necessarily lead to rural welfare. The Committee recommended that FAO continue to pay particular attention to the human aspects in rural development programs. One delegate asked that special stress be given to this in the Committee's report, and referred to the Conference Resolution No. 14/59 regarding the need to strengthen this facet of FAO's work.
32. The Division was urged to bear in mind the close relationship between the economic and social factors in rural life, and to practice the closest collaboration in this respect with other Divisions in FAO and with other agencies.
33. It was pointed out that in many countries, even when government had helped the formation of co-operatives, there would be no credit for small farmers if they were left dependent entirely on their own savings. Consequently it was recognized that the State would have to come forward with financial aid. The Committee approved the efforts of the Branch to promote supervised agricultural credit schemes combined with cooperatives. Financial help could best be channeled through local associations, such as co-operatives or credit unions, with the necessary advice.
34. The Committee was pleased to hear that the Government of Austria had already offered to host the Fourth Meeting of the ad hoc Working Party on Rural Sociological Problems of the Economic Commission for Africa.
Land and water development
35. The Committee noted that the total annual funds available to the Division under all programs is now about $7 million derived from the Regular Program (5 percent), EPTA (22 percent), Trust Funds including Freedom from Hunger Campaign (7 percent), and the United Nations Special Fund (66 percent). This total program is administered by 19 professional officers from the Regular Program and 9 professional posts financed from the United Nations Special Fund Agency Costs. It provides for over 380 field posts filled now or foreseen for 1962. The Division is in charge of 32 United Nations Special Fund projects and participates in a further 10. The Committee recognized that further expansion in the field program can be expected in the coming years.
36. The Committee carefully examined the work of the Division as set forth in the Director-General's report on the work of FAO 1960-61, and in the Program of Work for 19621963. While the Committee expressed its satisfaction with the efficient operation of the heavy and wide-ranging field program, it viewed with concern the inevitable encroachment upon the Regular Program. The Committee recognized therefore that the proposed increase in the number of staff by seven to meet requirements both at Headquarters and in Regional Offices is modest in view of the magnitude of the program, and noted with concern the lack of Divisional representation in Africa and Latin America. It agreed that the proposed staff and related budgetary increases are essential if the partially neglected activities of the Regular Program are to be performed successfully, and that the Regular Program must remain the foundation upon which the servicing of the growing field staff, the preparation of meetings and useful documents and publications must rest.
37. The Committee stressed the need for close participation in projects by the host government and the adequate training of national personnel so as to ensure subsequent development on the completion of FAO projects. The Committee was pleased to learn that many of the United Nations Special Fund projects had originated from EPTA activities.
38. It was recommended by a number of African and Latin-American delegates and agreed by the Committee that efforts should be made to provide funds from whatever source appears appropriate, including regional EPTA funds, for establishing activities of the Division in these two regions.
39. With respect to FAO relationship with UNESCO, the Committee stressed that in the field of agriculture, including land and water development, FAO should assume the leadership. On the other hand, full use should be made of, and co-operation maintained with existing national and international organizations working in the fields concerned, as for instance, the Commission for Technical Co-operation in Africa South of the Sahara (CCTA).
40. Subject to these comments the Committee expressed its agreement with the proposed program of work.
Soil survey and fertility
41. The Committee reviewed the results achieved in the field of soil survey and fertility and re-emphasized that a rational use of soil resources is the foundation of sustained agriculture.
42. The Committee noted that the Division was meeting successfully the increasing demands for assistance in soil surveys, fertility and management received from most parts of the world. The volume of work involved was shown by the number of experts in the field. In 1962, 120 FAO field personnel would be employed in 44 countries.
43. The Committee emphasized the need for training national personnel in technical work on soil survey and fertility, and especially for training centers for technicians in the countries themselves, who can carry on work started under technical assistance. The value of the field work at national levels was stressed. The importance of FAO's program of fertilizer trials, especially on cultivators' fields, was also stressed. It was suggested that FAO utilize all knowledge already available in the countries where fertilizer testing programs were developed. Attention was drawn to the necessity of promoting the study of soil biology as well as the work on soil micronutrient deficiences. The importance of concentrating on soil investigations in the tropical and subtropical regions was underlined, because the knowledge and experience acquired in the temperate zones were not necessarily transferable to the topical regions. As for the African region the work done by the Inter-African Bureau of Soils (BIS) and other bodies of CCTA should be taken into consideration.
44. The Committee observed that in addition to the application of fertilizers, other crop-producing factors may also be taken into consideration. It was accepted, however, that this was well recognized in FAO, and close co-operation was maintained within the Division and the Divisions of Plant Production and Protection, and Rural Institutions and Services. Work on soil classification done under FAO sponsorship in Europe should be continued.
45. The Committee agreed upon the usefulness of the joint FAO/UNESCO project on the Soil Map of the World at a suitable scab, but it felt that the project would hew to be developed d a slower pace than originally planned. The Committee agreed that work on the correlation of soil classification systems is very important. FAO should endeavor to resolve classification difficulties and expedite the work of appraising soil resources on a world-wide basis in order to facilitate the interpretation of soil maps for the practical purpose of determining land-use capabilities, of contributing to improved land use and farm planning and of providing basic information for its field activities. This task will be facilitated by the results obtained from the extensive work already carried out in the different countries. The Committee also agreed that the publication of existing regional soil maps should be encouraged as a first step toward a world soil map.
Water resources and irrigation
46. The Committee noted the regular program in this field had suffered particularly during past years from the exceptionally heavy workload resulting from the increasing programs under the United Nations Special Fund, but improvements were expected in the 1962-63 biennium.
47. The Committee commended the close co-operation which existed between FAO and other organizations such as the United Nations Water Resources Centre, UNESCO, WHO, WMO, the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) and CCTA, and between several segments in the Technical and Economics Departments of FAO. Such co-operation should be carried out within the approved budget.
48. The Committee stressed the need for more efficient use of water resources which were being increasingly exploited, and requested FAO to promote technical means such as: (a) more systematic survey of surface- and ground-water resources; (b) increased attention to development of small and medium floodwater storage schemes intended for the supply of irrigation water and flood control; (c) better assessment of ground-water resources to determine the proper rate of extraction, recharge techniques and prevention of salt water intrusion; (d) conservation of available water resources by rationalization of their field use recuperation of sewage and drainage waters and agriculture; use of waters of marginal quality, (c) improvements of existing irrigation systems (f) control of salinity and water logging and soil reclamation.
49. Several delegations pointed out the need to integrate irrigation and reclamation projects in comprehensive development plans while paying due attention to other basic aspects such as the agricultural, economic, social and institutional problems. Among the means to be used were: (a) formulation of well-balanced projects by supplying the services of small teams of experts, with a special view to the preparation of EPTA and United Nations Special Fund integrated water development projects; (b) adequate irrigation extension services to allow the farmers to take full benefit from the schemes when constructed; (c) comprehensive studies of the economic aspects of irrigation schemes.
50. The Committee noted that the study of " Economics of irrigation and drainage schemes " will be the first item to be considered by the next congress of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage. This was largely due to the proposals made by the FAO observer at the Fourth Congress of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage.
51. The Committee agreed on the value of and economic and social interest in small irrigation schemes using gravity or pumped water and recommended that due attention be paid to such schemes by governments and FAO. Attention should also be given by FAO to village water supplies for men and livestock in arid and semiarid areas.
52. The Committee stressed the need for governments and FAO to give high priority to the training of local specialists and farmers in the techniques of irrigation, including personnel for an effective irrigation extension service. It noted with satisfaction that FAO had secured the services of university professors during their sabbatical leaves which greatly facilitated FAO contributions to national training centers.
53. Delegations requested more help from FAO on the problems of using brackish waters for irrigation and of preventing salinisation of soils.
54. The Committee agreed that an " International source-book on irrigation and drainage of arid land in relation to salinity and alkalinity " would be a valuable contribution to the practical solution of the complex problems involved, and stressed that full use should be made of the experience available in member countries. FAO should have the leadership of this joint FAO/UNESCO project.
Land use and farm management
55. The Committee emphasized the importance of social and economic criteria in planning land and water use and in implementing development projects and technical improvements. It stressed that in carrying out work in soil conservation, close liaison within FAO was necessary and should include not only those disciplines concerned with measures of technical and biological aspects, but also those of legislation, organization and administration.
56. The Committee recognized the importance of land-use planning as a prerequisite to investment in development and settlement projects. It supported proposed work to be carried out in problems of land use and watershed management in cooperation with the other Divisions of FAO, including the Forestry and Forest Products Division.
57. The importance of soil and water conservation and the difficulties involved in implementing sound programs were stressed by the Committee. It attached most importance to developing conservation measures and programs that were profitable to the farmer and to linking conservation programs with farm management advice. Several delegates stressed the desirability of considering entire catchment areas or watersheds in developing soil and water conservation programs.
58. The importance of farm management as a part of the training of extension workers and the need for interpreting the effects of recommended technical improvements on the farmers' income were stressed by many delegates. The Committee emphasized the importance of establishing well planned management systems in the areas now being developed and considered that the proposed study on planning viable farms in land and water development and settlement projects would be a valuable planning aid. Reference was made to the " package program " recently inaugurated by the Government of India, where in selected areas a combination of key farm practices with the planning and budgeting of improved systems of farming were promising most impressive results in a short time. This approach might well be applicable to other developing countries.
59. The Committee recommended that FAO should consider the establishment of Regional Centers for Farm Development in Africa and Latin America similar to the Regional Farm Management Centers held in the Far East in recent years, as soon as possible under the regional EPTA program. Many delegates from the Far East region pointed out that these centers have been extremely valuable in stimulating work in this field.
60. The Committee requested FAO to continue its assistance to governments in selecting appropriate types of equipment to meet local climatic, soil topographic and socioeconomic conditions, and especially in the adaptation and design of farm hand tools and animal-drawn equipment in those areas that have an abundant supply of animal draft power. It stressed the importance of mechanization of small farms, especially the economic use of powered machines.
61. The Committee noted that assistance to governments in the fields of farm service buildings, including storage structures of traditional and improved types, equipment for the handling of agricultural products, spraying equipment for both small and large areas and farm electrification had been severely handicapped in past years, and recommended that by the 1964-65 biennium FAO should considerably increase its activities in these fields.
62. While the Committee expressed satisfaction with work carried out in these fields, it emphazised that as a means toward urban industrialization and in solving problems of employment in farming communities, the processing of available agricultural raw materials in rural communities should be given greater attention by newly-developing countries, and suggested that FAO should expand its assistance in these fields. Some delegations indicated that rural industries for processing primary agricultural products improve quality and thus the farmer's ability to compete in markets, provide more income to the farmer, are a means of utilizing waste and byproducts, and also reduce losses. Such small industries would give local people training at village level in new technical skills and management.
63. The Committee, in expressing satisfaction with the preparation and issuance of official publications and of informal technical bulletins, suggested that attention should also be given to the issuance of smaller bulletins dealing with specific equipment developed for special crops and agricultural practices.
64. The Committee noted that two development centers and a technical meeting approved for the current biennium were not implemented because of excessive workload mainly created by the growing number of projects under the Special Fund. It expressed appreciation of the work carried out in a number of countries for training machinery operators, maintenance and repair personnel, rural industry workers, agricultural and processing engineers, and urged that continued and expanded attention be given to this important field of activity. The Committee recommended that FAO assist developing countries in organizing and conducting national training centers for local technicians in agricultural and processing engineering subject-matter fields, and suggested that funds might be made available for this activity through the Freedom from Hunger Campaign.
65. The Committee expressed the view that the International Rice Commission and its Working Parties now had a wider value and urged governments in the African and Latin-American regions to participate more closely in its functions. It noted that the Division had an agricultural and processing engineer stationed in Asia and the Far East, and recommended that a similar post be created as soon as possible for the African region from any source of funds that may become available.
66. The Committee noted with satisfaction the close cooperation that existed with national and international organizations, and between the various sectors of the Technical and Economics Departments of FAO.
Atomic energy in food and agriculture
67. The Committee reviewed the program for atomic energy in food and agriculture which the Organization had carried out in 1960-61 and expressed approval of the manner in which activities in this field were being developed in appropriate perspective within the broader framework of the Organization's general programs in the various subject-matter areas concerned.
68. The Committee stressed the importance of the rapid diffusion of information and the early exchange of the results of research in such aspects as the use of radiation in food preservation and in plant breeding, and the applications of radioisotopes in research in the soil and crop sciences, in the control of insect pests, especially in tropical areas, and in animal production and animal health problems, and the proposals for technical meetings in these subjects in 1962-63 were endorsed. The Committee commended the FAO policy of further limiting the subject-matter scope of such meetings and emphasized the desirability of maintaining this policy in connection with future meetings in this field.
69. In addition to the importance of maintaining full emphasis on those applications of radioisotopes and radiation in food and agriculture within the FAO program, the Committee considered that high priority should also be given in the FAO program to activities relating to radioactive contamination in food and agriculture, including international consideration of such matters as the standardization of procedures for the monitoring of radioactive contamination of agricultural products, the problems involved in the establishment of permissible levels of contamination in food and the application of those levels in practice, and the decontamination of agricultural resources and products. The Committee noted with particular satisfaction the timely action taken by the Organization by convening in 1961 an Expert Committee on the Organization of Surveys for Radionuclides in Food and Agriculture and stressed the need for early and wide distribution of the report on this subject.
70. The Committee commended the importance that had been placed by the Organization on training activities in connection with radioisotopes techniques in agricultural research and considered that increasing emphasis should be placed on training courses and fellowships. It noted in this connection that governments could request fellowships and training courses in this field under the Expanded Program of Technical Assistance.
71. Several delegations referred to the value of reports on atomic energy in agriculture which had been prepared by the Organization and requested that high priority be given to the early publication and distribution of the reports of meetings in this field.
72. The Committee noted the steps that had been taken by the Director-General, not only through the United Nations Administrative Committee on Co-ordination but also through direct contacts, to promote effective co-ordination and cooperation between FAO and the various other international and regional intergovernmental agencies, especially those concerned mainly with atomic energy, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Nuclear Energy Agency and Euratom, which are increasingly developing international activities relating to atomic energy in food and agriculture. In the course of discussion on interagency co-ordination, the need was emphasized for further attention by the co-operating agencies to means of simplifying the procedure adopted for the issuance of invitations to governments to participate in meetings sponsored by two or more international agencies. Recognizing the continuing need for coordination and co-operation in this field, both between the various technical divisions within FAO and between the several international agencies interested in this field, the Committee recommended as a major issue that FAO should have main responsibility for initiation, execution and co-ordination of atomic energy activities relating primarily to subject matter pertaining to agriculture, food, forestry and fisheries.