National programs and policies of agricultural development and their co-ordination
44. The Conference stressed that national programs of agricultural development which did not take into account the intentions and interests of other countries might lead to a serious waste of the country's own resources, as well as hampering the growth of international trade and over-all economic development. Many countries maintained that the move away from international or regional specialization and division of labor towards greater national self-sufficiency was a major cause of present difficulties in world markets for some agricultural products. While it was recognized that a country's production should be based on its comparative advantage in soils, climate and other factors, it was pointed out that this was a static conception which did not take account of changing levels of efficiency and of the need for expansion in existing and new lines of production. Furthermore, reasons of national security, balance of payments and other difficulties, and the need to sustain a healthy and increasingly diversified domestic agriculture often dictated a greater measure of self-sufficiency than was warranted by purely economic considerations. The diversification of their agricultural production, including increased production of supplies for domestic consumption, was an important objective of agricultural policy in many countries that depended heavily on the export market for one or two agricultural commodities, in order to lessen the impact on their economy of fluctuations in world prices.
45. It was generally agreed that on the question of self-sufficiency each country must come to a decision in the light of its own particular circumstances, though paying due regard to the interests of others. Some countries might consider, however, whether their plans for self-sufficiency had not gone beyond their original objective and were now operating to the undue disadvantage of others and even of themselves. The expansion of domestic production was not always the cheapest method of obtaining additional fool supplies, and investment in some other development which would enable more food to be imported might in some cases be more profitable.
46. It was important that the establishment of the European Economic Community and other proposed schemes of regional integration should not give rise to a repetition within the wider regional framework of national policies of self-sufficiency, or to further obstacles to international trade. In this connection, the Conference welcomed the assurances given by members of the European Economic Community that its intention was to co-operate closely with other countries and not to build a wall separating it from the rest of the world. The Conference considered that regional integration schemes represented a major trend of the times and that it was, therefore, important for FAO to give full consideration to their agricultural implications,
47. In reviewing the progress made and the difficulties encountered in the co-ordination of national programs and policies of agricultural development, the Conference considered the Director-General's report (C 57/16), prepared in response to a resolution of the Eighth Session of the Conference together with the comments of the Council on that report.
48. FAO's work in this field had gone through a long evolution. It included direct staff services to countries, such as country missions, advisory visits by regular staff members, use of ETAP experts, fellowships and training centers. It also included intergovernmental discussion of programs and policies at the world level in the Conference, the Council and the Committee on Commodity Problems, and at the regional level in regional meetings and consultations. Meanwhile nations generally had started or expanded work on agricultural program making, especially in the effort to expand food supplies in the early post-war years. More recently, developed countries had tended to pay less attention to specific production goals, and more to price support and other measures to maintain farm incomes, while less developed countries had given increasing attention to programming and planning agricultural development, as part of their effort to speed up economic development. In few underdeveloped countries, however, had this program making gone much beyond the " bundle of projects " stage, developed on more or less an ad hoc basis, and often without adequate attention to the balance between agriculture and industry and with little serious study of the priorities involved.
49. The recent tempo of economic development in many cases had strained available resources and necessitated frequent modification in plans and programs. Continued attention was thus necessary to improved and more flexible techniques of planning and to the re-adjustment of plans to changing conditions. More effective planning could help obtain the maximum progress by making the best use of the limited resources available. In addition to inadequate financial and material resources, progress in program making had been slowed up by the lack of: (1) basic data and information; (2) trained technical, economic and administrative staffs; (3) adequate administrative organization, either for making plans or carrying them into operation; and (4) inter-departmental co-operation.
50. In expanding the factual basis for planning, detailed knowledge of basic resources was needed, such as that provided for in the proposed survey of agricultural, fisheries and forest resources. The 1960 World Census of Agriculture would help strengthen the statistical basis. Reform of the agrarian structure was also important in many countries. This was a long-term factor tending to raise both the farmer's incentive to increase production and his financial ability to raise his levels of living and his own investment in farm capital.
51. The shortage of trained personnel and of capital remained twin difficulties holding back the under-developed countries. International programs of Technical Assistance and training had done much to improve the supply of trained personnel, but the resources available in this field were inevitably inadequate for the great need that existed. The Conference felt that in these circumstances it was particularly important to relate such technical assistance closely to national development programs, so as to maximize its effectiveness.
52. Many countries emphasized the inadequacy of the capital available for investment in agricultural development. This applied both to government funds for agricultural investment and to the supply of credit to individual farmers to enable them to improve their efficiency. It was recognized that all countries must accumulate capital for development from their own limited resources, even if at times this meant temporary reductions in consumption. Many countries stressed, however, that a larger supply of international funds was needed for investment in agriculture, and some considered that FAO should take positive action in this matter. In addition, current public budgets for agricultural ministries and other government services to farming, forestry and fisheries were unduly low in many under-developed countries, and needed to be materially increased if public services to rural industries were to be consistent with the importance of these industries to employment, national income and economic development.
53. The Conference stressed the need, in planning and in introducing improved techniques and measures of economic assistance, to pay greater attention to the human and social factors involved. It was not sufficient to provide the farmer with merely the physical means of increasing his production. Social measures were also necessary to improve rural conditions. More rapid improvement would be possible if the enthusiasm and help of the rural population themselves could be more widely enlisted in over-all programs of community development. In some countries this had been effective in imparting a new impetus to rural development.
54. The Conference expressed interest in the proposal that greater attention should be given at regional meetings or consultations to consideration of the special regional significance of the economic outlook, as developed at meetings of the Council and the Committee on Commodity Problems. It was agreed that this approach might be tried out on an experimental basis, such as at the Regional Conferences in 1958. Co-operation with the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions should be maintained in this effort.
55. The Conference emphasized that practical planning; was of the greatest importance to prevent waste of scarce resources and to achieve the most rapid feasible progress in development. Accordingly, the Conference adopted the following Resolution:
Resolution No. 7/57
Agricultural Planning and Programing
Noting that the improvement of agricultural planning and implementation has been limited by a number of factors, and
Reaffirming its belief in the principles of the Selective Expansion of Production and Consumption, as set forth in resolutions of previous Sessions of the Conference:
Recommends to Member Nations that they
(a) continue to develop comprehensive and balanced agricultural plans, wit/7 due regard to forestry and fisheries where applicable, and within the general setting of economic development programs;
(b) seek necessary Technical Assistance from all competent sources;
(c) make special efforts to increase the availability of well qualified planning, technical and administrative staff, through the establishment of training facilities, where appropriate on a regional basis;
(d) strengthen as necessary national statistical and economic offices for the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data essential for program and policy formulation;
(e) in developing national programs, give due attention to import needs as well as to export possibilities, and in this connection to examine opportunities for the exchange of products which they are well fitted to produce for those which other countries can produce to better comparative advantage;
(f) continue to seek, through regional and global consultations under FAO and other auspices, for a better balance and consistency between the programs of individual countries;
Recommends to the Director-General that he continue and develop FAO activities in support of better national and international program making; and continue to co-operate with the United Nations and other specialized international agencies to make national agricultural planning, as far as possible, part of a properly balanced general economic development program with due attention to farming, forestry and fisheries, and to social as well as economic goals.
Agricultural support policies
56. The Conference discussed the Report of the Expert Working Party on Agricultural Support Measures which had been set up under a Resolution of its Eighth Session, together with the comments of the Committee on Commodity Problems (C 57/15).
57. The Working Party had been instructed to examine the various systems of price support and of other measures for maintaining farm incomes in order to make some comparisons of how far greater stability of farm incomes and a reasonable relationship between farm incomes and those in other occupations could be achieved, without at the same time making it more difficult to adjust agricultural production to changes in demand, restricting consumption and increasing obstacles to international trade, and in all these ways increasing the danger of agricultural surpluses.
58. The Conference expressed its appreciation of the careful analysis which had been made of the support measures used in many Member Countries, and of the critical comments of the Working Party on the various methods of establishing the level of price supports, and of implementing both price and other forms of agricultural support. These had been examined from the point of view of producers and consumers, and of their possible effects in restricting trade and on contributing to the emergence of surpluses. Many delegations stressed that the observations of the Working Party in these respects would be of value to governments in establishing or reviewing their agricultural support policies.
59. At the same time the Conference recognized that in so difficult and controversial a matter it would scarcely have been possible to cover fully all aspects of the problem at the first attempt, or to arrive at meaningful conclusions which were acceptable to all countries. There was therefore general agreement that further work was necessary in this field, for which the Report of the Expert Working Party, the comments of the Committee on Commodity Problems and the discussion of the Conference itself, would be a useful starting point.
60. Some countries considered that the Report of the Working Party had given most attention to support measures in North America, Europe and in Australia and New Zealand, and not enough to those in less-developed regions of the world. In analysing the various measures, the underlying reasons why different systems had been adopted in countries at different stages of economic development, or with different interests in international trade, might have been examined in greater detail. The Working Party, in accordance -with its terms of reference, had given most attention to the possible undesirable secondary effects of agricultural support policies. The Conference considered that their more positive effects, both in the social sphere and as a tool in assisting agricultural and general economic development, especially in under-developed countries, merited closer attention.
61. The Conference therefore welcomed the proposal of the Director-General to hold a meeting in early 1958, to be sponsored jointly by FAO and ECAFE. At this meeting the special problems of agricultural supports in the special conditions of the countries of Asia and the Far East would be fully considered. The Conference emphasized that an examination at the regional level of the problems of agricultural supports was important, and considered that similar consultations in other less-developed regions would be of value, noting in this connection that a study of agricultural support policies in Latin-American countries was under way. It was generally felt that it would be useful to have the conclusions of such regional studies and consultations before proceeding further with a more detailed analysis of the general problem of agricultural supports. But it was recognized that where problems of international trade arose a regional study would have to be considered in a wider context.
62. Some countries were in disagreement with the conclusion of the Working Party that, while the problems of implementing price support policies were not likely to be unmanageable when these were regarded primarily as an insurance against serious falls in price, major difficulties arose when, in order to raise the level of farm incomes, farm prices were supported over a long period at levels substantially above the average level of prices on world markets. In these circumstances, for example, open or concealed export subsidies became necessary in exporting countries, and substantial measures of protection in importing countries. The countries objecting to this conclusion pointed out that today international prices of certain products were so often influenced by various national policies that they bore little relation to production costs, or to the real values of the commodities traded. They considered further that this conclusion of the Working Party did not take sufficient account of the basic social objectives of agricultural support policies. Other countries strongly supported the conclusions of the Working Party in this regard.
63. The Working Party, recognizing the social problems which would arise in a number of countries if this conclusion were put into practice, had suggested two approaches towards a solution. They noted that a main reason for the high level of price supports in some countries was the large number of small and marginal farms which could not provide their occupiers with a reasonable living unless prices were relatively high. They therefore pointed out that as more of the population moved into other occupations, a general phenomenon with the progress of industrialization, it might be possible gradually to regroup farms into more economic units which would make possible lower support levels. This was, of course, suggested as a long term approach, and not as an immediate solution. They suggested further that a given level of farm incomes could be maintained with lower support prices if the resulting fall in farm receipts was offset by lower costs as a result of farm income supports of an indirect nature. Many ways in which this might be done were suggested, some involving government expenditures and others including stabilization funds and improved marketing organization to which producers themselves could largely contribute. The Working Party did not, however, consider that indirect aids to farmers could entirely replace price supports, pointing out that without basic price supports farm prices might fall so far that in spite of increased efficiency and lower costs of production there would be no net gain in farm incomes.
64. A number of countries supported the view of the Working Party that increased emphasis should be placed on indirect measures of agricultural support and, especially, on those tending to increase productivity and efficiency. This aspect was particularly important in less developed countries. It was considered that in further studies on agricultural supports this aspect should be more fully investigated, for example, from the standpoint of which of the indirect measures available were likely to be most appropriate in countries at different stages of economic development.
65. It was recognized, too, that in many countries the agrarian structure made it difficult to achieve the full potential level of productivity. The competitive strength of such agricultures in international markets was correspondingly reduced, and it also became difficult to achieve a satisfactory level of farm incomes without relatively high support prices. The Conference emphasized, therefore, that support policies should be closely co-ordinated with policies to improve the agrarian structure, and indeed with policies of national economic development as a whole.
66. The Conference noted that the widespread adoption of agricultural support measures in countries in all parts of the world indicated the need for some form of agricultural support. The uncertainties of the weather, the well known instability of prices of agricultural products and the disparity of incomes between agriculture and other sectors of the economy underlines the importance of agricultural supports on both economic and social grounds. The objectives and the facts of price support policies are not identical in all countries and may vary considerably according to the stage of development. Often the provision of employment in agriculture is an important consideration. The high overhead costs of modern systems of agriculture made farmers even more vulnerable to price fluctuations. In present circumstances the general abandonment of agricultural supports would be likely to have most serious repercussions, both in agriculture and in other sectors of the economy. The problem was therefore to find how best to improve the economic situation of agricultural producers with the least possible harmful secondary effects.
67. The Working Party had suggested some broad criteria which governments might take into account in framing policies to stabilize and raise the level of farm incomes, which it considered would be likely to lessen any undesirable secondary effects of such policies; as follows,
" An agricultural support policy should combine a satisfactory level and stability of income in agriculture to the maximum degree possible with:
(i) the greatest practicable flexibility of agricultural production in its adjustment to consumer demand;
(ii) a balanced and expanding consumption of agricultural products;
(iii) the most rational use of the agricultural and other resources of the country;
(iv) the greatest simplicity of operation with the minimum of cost to the community as a whole in relation to the result achieved. "
These four criteria were amplified in succeeding paragraphs of the Working Party's report.
68. Many countries commended these criteria, and noted that they corresponded in many respects with those established later by the OEEC and accepted by the member governments of that Organization. Some countries stated that these criteria were already observed in their own support policies.
69. In view of the important international effects of national support policies particularly in regard to international trade, the Conference considered that a more definite and precise statement was required of the broad principles to be taken into account by governments in framing their national policies, possibly along the lines of the FAO code of surplus disposal. It was agreed that this matter should be pursued further along the lines set out in the Resolution appended below.
70. In the course of a debate a number of points were suggested by certain countries for consideration in drawing up such a code of principles. These included the following: that guaranteed or supported price levels should not greatly exceed over a period the general level of prices in international markets; that support measures to raise incomes should as far as possible aim at doing so by reducing costs, increasing productivity and making the most rational use of resources, both within a country and between countries; that they should not become too great a burden to the consumer, but should be designed to assist a balanced expansion of consumption of agricultural products; that exports of commodities benefiting from price and income supports should be undertaken in ways that did not adversely affect production in other countries or international trade; that full attention should be given to the adverse effects which agricultural support measures in industrially developed importing countries may cause to international trade in agricultural products. It was further emphasized that in framing such principles full account should be taken of the very different economic and social conditions in countries at different stages of economic development.
71. The Conference adopted the following Resolutions:
Resolution No. 8/57
Agricultural Support Policies
Recognizing the desirability of adjusting the supply of agricultural commodities as closely as possible to demand;
Recognizing also the importance in many countries of price and income supports as a means of ensuring a reasonable level of income for farmers as compared with other sectors of the community;
Recognizing that in certain circumstances national agricultural policies may have undesirable repercussions on the level of production and supplies of commodities and, consequently, on normal international trade and conditions in other countries;
Taking cognizance of the report of the Expert Working Party on Agricultural Support Measures and comments of the Committee on Commodity Problems on this report;
Noting the work which has been undertaken by the FAO Group on Grains in connection with the study of national policies on grain and the attention being given by the Director-General to the study of national policies affecting dairy products, and the close link of such commodity studies with the general problem of agricultural support measures;
Noting also the studies carried out in other organizations, in particular, the OEEC;
Welcomes the initiative of the Director-General in co-operation with ECAFE in preparing a seminar to consider the special problems of price and income support in Far Eastern countries and notes that consideration may be given to holding similar consultations in other regions in collaboration with the appropriate regional organizations;
Endorses the need for agreed principles to serve as guidelines for use by Member Governments in establishing or reviewing their agricultural price and income support policies in order to ensure that such policies will be effective in achieving their objectives but will have minimum adverse repercussions on the pattern of production and trade of other countries; and
Requests the Director-General to pursue the study of agricultural support measures, in consultation with governments, and at an appropriate time to invite all governments interested to nominate representatives, who should be specialists in agricultural support matters, to participate in a special panel, in order to prepare a report to be referred for consideration to the Committee on Commodity Problems, and through the FAO Council, to member governments. The panel should be directed in the light of the above studies and the statements of delegates at the Ninth Session of the Conference:
1. To analyze the effects of the various agricultural support systems, including different levels of price support, with a view to obtaining a better basis for evaluating the relative advantages and disadvantages of such systems. The study should cover the effects of the various support measures on increasing agricultural production and investment, especially in less-developed countries and regions, and the integration of price supports with other steps taken to increase production and agricultural incomes;
2. To recommend guiding principles designed to minimize the adverse effects of agricultural support policies on international trade, and to be taken into account by member governments in establishing or reviewing their agricultural policies. In developing such principles the panel shall have full regard to the special circumstances and problems of countries,
Resolution No. 9/57
Agricultural Support Policies
Considering that voluntary consultations are desirable between member governments on the effects of agricultural support policies on international trade in agricultural products and that the good offices and facilities of FAO should be made available for such consultations;
Requests the Director-General to provide suitable facilities for holding voluntary consultations, in cases where member governments indicate their desire to hold such consultations.
Productivity in agriculture forestry and fisheries
72. The Conference had before it a report by the Director-General on Productivity in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (C 57/17). The Conference recognized that increased productivity lay at the basis of economic development. It was the key to improving incomes and levels of living and to raising food consumption. While, however, the use of improved techniques in agriculture, forestry and fisheries was of the utmost importance in raising productivity, many other considerations were also involved, such as the density of rural population, the outlets for surplus labor in other sectors of the economy, the pattern of resource use and various aspects of the institutional structure such as land tenure.
73. The Conference discussed recent trends in labor productivity in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and the relation of these trends to those in other industries. In the United States, for instance, the index of labor productivity in agriculture (1920=100) was 146 in 1940, 206 in 1950 and 252 in 1955. This rate of progress was even greater than that achieved in manufacturing generally and, for example, in the steel industry. Similarly, in Western Europe, excluding the Mediterranean area, labour productivity in agriculture in the post-war years seemed to have advanced at an average rate of about 4 percent per annum.
74. Doubt was expressed, however, whether such rates of increase were typical of long term trends. In Europe, for instance, there had been a tenfold increase in tractor numbers since before the war and the consumption of fertilizers had almost doubled. In many highly industrialized countries there was reason to believe that the remarkable rate of progress in productivity in recent years resulted from making up for an earlier lag in the adoption of mechanization and other new techniques. Meanwhile, secondary industry stood on the threshold of the age of automation.
75. The kinds of changes in husbandry practices that were taking place in Canada were believed to be typical of the more recently settled countries, as capital became more abundant relative to land, leading to intensification of farming. Over the last 25 years productivity per acre had increased by 22 percent and per animal unit by 24 percent. At the same time the number of agricultural workers had decreased sharply. After taking account of the transfer of certain operations from farmers to others, the net productivity of labor in agriculture had increased by 60 percent since 1926 or at the rate of 2.4 percent per annum.
76. While the growth of labor productivity in agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the more economically advanced countries in recent years appeared to be fairly satisfactory, the inability of the rural population in many of these countries to retain a substantial share of the benefits of their increased productivity was disquieting. In this respect, too, a dramatic contrast could be drawn between agriculture and the steel industry in the United States of America. In the latter, labor and capital had absorbed almost the whole of the benefits accruing from the increased labor productivity. In the earlier period most of the benefits accruing to labor had been taken in the form of more leisure, while more recently there had been little change in the hours of work per week but wages had advanced rapidly. In contrast, hours of work in agriculture had changed little and real earnings per week had made appreciable progress only during and immediately after the second world war According to recent estimates. the average weekly income in United States agriculture (in 1947-49 dollars) was $ 16 in 1913 and had risen only to $ 18 in 1940. It was $ 31 in 1950, but had fallen to $ 28 in 1955, over the same period when the index of productivity per worker had risen from 206 to 252 and the real wages of steel workers from $ 67 to $ 90. This highlighted a problem which appeared to be common in greater or lesser degree to all the more advanced countries.
77. The Conference also noted the substantial investment per farm worker needed to achieve high levels of labor productivity in the more advanced countries. In the United States, for example, this had reached $ 15,000 per farm worker, compared with $ 12,800 in manufacturing industry.
78. It appeared that the disparity between productivity levels in agriculture, forestry and fisheries and in secondary industry was greatest in underdeveloped countries, though little statistical evidence was available on the actual trends in labor productivity in these countries. While in all regions production had been increasing at a slightly faster rate than the growth of total population, at least in a great many underdeveloped countries the agricultural population continued to increase in absolute numbers even though it might be decreasing relatively to the total population. This increase in the rural labor force was in contrast to the situation in the more economically advanced countries and must to a great extent be offsetting the effects of increased total production so far as labor productivity was concerned.
79. While the effect of increased farm productivity on agricultural incomes was modified in highly industrialized countries by other economic factors and by the bargaining power of different economic groups, its effects in less-developed countries was very direct. There, land reform measures normally increased the proportion of the farm's net income retained by the operator. Furthermore, the high importance of food in family consumption in the less-developed countries meant that increased farm production would be directly reflected in better diets and living conditions for the farm family, quite apart from its effects on the income from commercial sales.
80. It was difficult to raise labor productivity in agriculture in underdeveloped countries so long as there was a heavy pressure of population on the land. Even the best efforts to raise labor productivity would have only a limited effect on agricultural incomes unless there was adequate growth in the other sectors of the economy. This was necessary to provide employment outlets not only for the existing rural population, with its considerable degree of underemployment, but also for the growth of population and for the numbers that could be released as improved techniques and more economic scales of operation were introduced in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
81. In many underdeveloped countries with large agricultural populations and, consequently, small holdings, the chief means of raising the productivity of agricultural labor lay in raising production per acre through such means as irrigation, varietal improvement, proper use of fertilizers and better cultural methods, rather than through mechanization. The latter, if applied on a mass scale, would at least for the time being create serious social problems. However, some countries were looking for the solution both in the direction of mechanization, even of traditional food crops such as rice, and more intensive forms of agriculture including mixed farming.
82. The low productivity of labor in forest industries in many underdeveloped countries was particularly noted. The solution to this problem involved programs for the training of forest workers, improved equipment and machinery for forest extraction and research in the utilization of forest products. Particular tribute was paid to the assistance which India had received from FAO in regard to logging methods and it was generally considered that FAO could provide substantial guidance in raising the productivity of labor in forestry.
83. Low levels of productivity were also common in fishery industries in underdeveloped countries. A number of countries gave accounts of their programs of research and development designed to improve the situation. Some countries were interested in developing deep-sea fisheries and many emphasized the possibilities inherent in the improvement of brackish water and inland fisheries. Experience in Canada indicated some of the ways in which labor productivity in fisheries could be increased, provided the problem was tackled on a wide front from the improvement of craft to consumer education. For instance, the number of fishermen had decreased by 10 percent since the mid 1930's, but landings in terms of real value had approximately doubled. Similarly, employment in fish processing plants had declined by some 20 percent, but the value added in real terms was 21/2 times as high. The value of gear per fisherman was now about 41/2 times as great as in 1935 and there had been similar increases in investment and improved forms of organization in fisheries processing.
84. The Conference stressed the close interrelationships between land tenure, land use and productivity and the great importance which adequate tenure arrangements had on motivation to increase production. Frequently also, agrarian reform measures gave the only real chance for a quick change in the land use pattern. They were of the greatest importance for agricultural development in general and for increased productivity in particular. Problems of agrarian reform were closely related to the rate of technological progress. Tenure problem also arose in the owner-exploiter relationship on forest lands.
85. The Conference reaffirmed FAO's responsibility in the field of agrarian reform and accepted the role of leadership in this field which the Resolution of the 23rd Session of ECOSOC had assigned to FAO. In this connection the Conference adopted the following Resolution:
Resolution No. 10/57
Reaffirms the great emphasis placed on the responsible role of FAO in the work of improvement of agrarian structures, as stated in the Resolutions No. 8/51 of the Sixth Session, No. 31/53 of the Seventh Session and No. 17/55 of the Eighth Session of the Conference;
Recognizes that FAO has the major responsibility in the field of agrarian reform, as stated in the ECOSOC Resolution No. 644 (XXIII).
The Conference recommended that the Director-General should continue studies of land tenure, focussing the interest of Governments on the improvement of agrarian structure and the evaluation of reform measures. Problems of farm sizes and land consolidation, in both their economic and legal aspects, should have an appropriate place in the work of FAO.
86. The study of Post-War Changes in some Institutional Factors affecting Agriculture, contained in the Director-General's report on the State of Food and Agriculture - 1957, together with his other studies on land tenure were appreciated by the Conference. It was felt that FAO should continue to take a flexible approach to structural problems, since they were greatly influenced by technological changes and particular local conditions. The Conference stressed the advantage of close cooperation between FAO and OEEC in the field of structural improvements.
87. Some countries stressed the need for a thorough exploration of various types of cooperative farming and of the co-operative pooling of various resources. Mention was made of the possibilities of co-operative livestock production and the desirability of maintaining individual ownership of land in cooperative farm enterprises. The Conference agreed, however, that differences in national tradition and in the economic and social climate called for an individual approach to problems of land tenure. Many countries considered that the most favorable framework for the growth of labor productivity was provided by the family farm. with full scope for private initiative and with government programs designed to assist private enterprise rather than to supplant it.
88. The importance of other institutional factors such as agricultural credit and cooperatives, was emphasized. Government policy in such matters as selective grants and taxation could also play an important part in stimulating more productive farming. The importance of sociological factors, such as the unwillingness of people in some more primitive societies to undertake steady work for higher incomes, was also stressed. The education and improvement of the lot of the womenfolk might help in this respect.
89. Another important factor in agricultural and forest productivity was the establishment of sound patterns of land use. Improved knowledge of the capacities of the natural resources was, therefore, important for working towards optimum patterns of land use. In some countries, existing patterns had their roots in historical conditions which had, for instance, resulted in the more fertile areas and those more suitable for cultivation being used on an extensive basis, largely for livestock raising, while arable farming was confined to the areas with the least favorable topography and carried out under conditions of heavy pressure of population on land, with holdings of uneconomic size.
90. Resource conservation also required major land use adjustments, such as the withdrawal of marginal land from arable farming to grazing or afforestation. Potentially productive forest lands in many areas were rapidly deteriorating as a result of uncontrolled grazing or of burning under shifting cultivation practices.
91. The Conference considered that careful studies were needed in the whole field of productivity and on agrarian reform in relation to productivity. It was also suggested that FAO should indicate which studies would be most useful for countries to carry out themselves. Particular emphasis was laid on the importance of comparative studies on the methods of consolidation of fragmented holdings.