E. Economics and statistics division
Considerations of an economic find statistical nature underlie virtually all activities of FAO. Persons responsible for the development and ad. ministration of agricultural policies and programs need statistical information before action can be taken on national and international problems. Few problems confronting FAO can be classified as being exclusively economic or statistical, but likewise there are few problems with which FAO deals which do not have important economic and statistical aspects.
Over the longer term, governments will increasingly be faced with the problem of how to achieve the needed production at the lowest cost, and with the minimum drain on resources. This represents a change from recent years when the major concern was howl to get more food at any cost. The increasing importance: of economical production-of the most profitable use of the resources available-will demand close attention. Decisions must be made as to the best use of scarce capital for fertilizers, for farm power and machinery for the development of new land, for marketing and processing facilities, for agricultural credits. Each such problem has economic as well as technical agricultural aspects.
Many immediate and long-term economic problems of agriculture have been considered by the present session of the FAO Conference, and are constantly before national governments. FAO should be prepared to provide factual information and assistance to the solution of economic and statistical problems. The Conference is glad to note that the proposed program of work places greater emphasis upon regional activities and the provision of competent advice to member governments on a broad range of economic and statistical problems affecting agriculture. It notes the progress that has already been made in this respect, but finds that the advice offered needs to be sufficiently specific to meet the particular needs of member governments. Only if FAO presents the results of its analyses impartially and fearlessly, from the standpoint of an international agency fully aware of the situation throughout the entire world, will its materials and conclusions be of greatest value to member governments.
It is agreed that primary emphasis should be given to helping on activities in which governments are acting together, and for which they need information and analyses that go beyond individual national boundaries. Through close co-operation among the technical staffs, of governments, FAO and; where appropriate, other international agencies, progress toward achieving FAO's objectives will be more rapid than by any other method. When staff members are assigned to regional work, every effort should be made to allow adequate time for the staff member to become familiar with the problems of a country and a region, in order that the exchange of ideas and of information between him and the national officers concerned will be mutually beneficial.
The Conference has examined the report on the work of the past year and the program of work submitted for 1949. It is gratified to note that substantial progress has been made- in carrying out the major activities recommended by the 1947 session of the Conference, and approves the program of the Division for 1949. In that connection the Conference devoted special attention to the following items.
World Census of Agriculture
The Conference is glad to learn that more shall 65 countries have indicated to FAO that they are carrying on preparatory work for the 1950 World Census of Agriculture. Some members of the Conference have stated that their countries will be unable to carry on a census before 1951. It is felt that where a census can be better done in 1951 than earlier, the postponement is in accord with the FAO program. But it would be unfortunate to have the census for any country postponed until after 1951, if that can at all be avoided. The Conference again calls the attention of member governments to the 1950 World Census of Agriculture. The information obtained and the experience gained from such a census will lead to more satisfactory annual surveys of the food and agriculture situation It is hoped) that with the 1950 Census, the world-wide program for periodic censuses of agriculture initiated by the International Institute of Agriculture in connection with the 1930 Census, can be resumed. A census in all parts of the world - including non-self-governing areas - taken in accordance with a uniform program, and at approximately the same time, will make an important contribution to the world's knowledge of its agriculture. Particular attention should be given to the problem of taking the census in those areas in which censuses have not been highly developed.
(1) that each member government which has not already made administrative and financial arrangements for its census of agriculture undertake to conduct a census of agriculture consistent with the program submitted by FAO in or about 1950;
(2) that FAO assist member governments requesting such assistance in the development of their census programs.
Current Agricultural Statistics
The Conference stresses again the importance of the collection and dissemination of current statistics relating to food: and agriculture. It is pleased to note that significant progress- has been made in restoring the statistical service which the International Institute of Agriculture had developed before the war, and urges continued efforts to provide governments and international organizations with up-to-date food and agricultural statistics. Supplying such statistics is peculiarly a function for an international agency. The improvement of national statistics makes prompt and comprehensive publication by FAO more urgent than would be the case otherwise. Forward estimates of crop and livestock production and of the food situation are essential for this and other purposes. FAO should explore the possibility of securing from agencies of national governments forward estimates of the information from which such estimates could be computed.
The Conference notes that the proposed Pro gram of Work for 1949 anticipates reductions in the frequency with which monthly and annual statistics of food and agriculture would be issued. The Conference attaches great importance to the statistical publications, and considers the collection and publication of agricultural statistics to be a basic and essential activity of FAO. Therefore,
- Recommends that the prompt publication of a monthly statistical bulletin and annual statistical yearbook, covering both production and trade, be continued.
The Conference recognizes that some of the statistics needed by FAO are being assembled by other agencies and stresses the importance of avoiding duplication of statistical services;
- Recommends that FAO statistics be prepared - in close co-operation with the existing statistical services belonging to other international organizations (such as the International Sugar Council, International Cocoa Council, International Wheat Council, etc.) so as to avoid divergences, duplications, and unnecessary costs.
Plans and Programs
The Conference is agreed that governments acting individually and jointly through FAO need to develop forward-looking targets and pro- Third Session of the Conference that all member governments be urged to establish production targets as a basis for planning the organization of production, and recalls the recommendations of production and as a guide to intelligent international consultation and action, and the similar recommendations of the Council of FAO at its first session in November 1947. The Conference notes that the Director-General proposes to make available economic and statistical staff to assist member governments in carrying out this work.
(1) that the Director-General proceed as rapidly as possible to make staff members available to assist governments in the development of forward-looking production, consumption, and trade targets and programs;
(2) that governments indicate to the Director-General their needs for assistance in the development of such forward-looking targets and programs;
(3) that the Director-General convene regional conferences of government representatives and analysts for purposes of developing a regional appraisal and co-ordination of national plans and programs prior to the next annual session of the Conference.
Food Balance Sheets
The Conference learns with interest of the progress that has been made in the development of food balance sheets for nearly 60 countries, and appreciates that the work was done through the co-operation of the Nutrition and Economics Divisions. Food balance sheets bring together the significant information in teach country on production, trade, and utilization of all food products, and provide a synopsis of the entire food situation. The Conference believes that the food balance sheet technique is a useful tool in the analysis of progress made in improving the food position in all countries. It suggests that governments should be encouraged to develop their own food balance sheets, and that FAO should be prepared to assist those governments which find it difficult to do this.
(1) that member governments be asked to prepare food balance sheets according to a uniform pattern and submit them to FAO; a means of assisting governments in the preparation of such food balance sheets, FAO should distribute as soon as possible a manual setting forth the technique developed for the preparation of food balance sheets;
(2) that FAO provide direct assistance in this work to those governments which find it difficult to prepare food balance sheets;
(3) that, in order to promote comparability in the presentation of food consumption data in terms of calories and nutrients, FAO continue work on food composition and make available to governments food composition tables (provisionally based on methods recommended by the Committee on Calorie Conversion Factors and Food Composition Tables) which may be used in the preparation of food balance sheets;
(4) that food balance sheets be published as soon as possible for those countries with adequate data, after consultation with the governments concerned, and that in the future food balance sheets for as many countries as possible be published regularly.
The Conference is gratified with the success achieved in the regional statistical training schools conducted during the past year in the Near East and in Latin America in co-operation with governments and other international agencies; and in the special training school conducted in cooperation with the Government of China. It would urge that in further developments of this type every effort be made to continue and repeat such co-operative arrangements. It is particularly gratified to hear that the Government of India has offered its facilities for the establishment of a similar training school for Southeast Asia. It stresses the importance of an experimental enumeration as part of any training program.
The Conference welcomes the proposal to organize a training school for statisticians in Southeast Asia in the near future, with the purpose of rendering assistance in the proposed Census of Agriculture, and urges member governments to cooperate in; regard to arrangements and facilities in every feasible way. The work on economic trends and prospects affecting agriculture in the Division's program of work, particularly that dealing with international trade balances and exchange problems and economic and financial problems of agricultural development, will need to be intensified to aid the Council in carrying forward the recommendations proposed by Commission I.
F. Fisheries division
The Fisheries Division of FAO is faced with the problem of encouraging in various parts of the world, not only the exploitation of fishing grounds which have either never been touched or are only being exploited to a limited extent, but at the same time the improvement or even the provision of advice on new methods of catching, processing, and distribution. In other words, in many parts of the world untouched fish supplies exist which, if properly exploited, would be of the greatest value to the inhabitants within reasonable reach. Potential fish supplies also exist in inland waters, and this is the more important in certain countries where conditions prevent the possible harvest from the sea reaching more than the coastal dwellers.
The Conference considers that the need for help, advice, and guidance from FAO is very great but it is obvious that with such a task in view, only a limited number of problems can be dealt) with tat one and the same time. The work requires experts of the highest order, who are not easily obtained. Consequently, the Fisheries Division has had to build up its staff gradually.
The Conference has reviewed in some detail the program submitted by the Fisheries Division which was formulated with the advice of the Standing Advisory Committee on Fisheries set up by the Director-General. It is satisfied that the program submitted, although representing a minimum program, can enable FAO to make a considerable contribution to the problems the world's food supply.
The Conference notes with satisfaction the report of the Director of the Fisheries Division as to work already done and that proposed for the year 1949 and approves the projects as modified by the findings of the Commission. It believes that this program, although a minimum program, can achieve a considerable contribution to the problem of the world's food supply.
In signifying its approval, however, the Conference has in mind certain specific problems which some delegates seek to see solved in their particular areas. For example, the view has been expressed that greater exploitation of inland fisheries should be instituted, and that in addition FAO should devote itself more actively to the provision of requisites for securing greater fisheries production. A resolution was moved that FAO should take early steps to assist national governments to improve inland fisheries along with coastal fisheries; and should help in the supply of requisites essential for fisheries production in view of their great demand coupled with shortage in supply.
The Conference has in mind certain matters upon which-its advice has been sought. First the question of international standards of quality, packaging, weight, and description. In this connection it is recalled that at the Third Session of the Conference certain recommendations were made as follows:
(1) that the Director-General ask member nations to examine what fisheries products entering into international trade are most in need of such standardization, and how and to what extent this may be accomplished; and
(2) that FAO bring together the information yielded by such an examination without neglecting the nutrition factors involved, and refer it to ad hoc committees of government representatives so that the; foundations may be laid for the eventual establishment of an international code defining such standards.
- Noting that the Fisheries Division of FAO has already collected a certain amount of information on this point, and recognizing that the establishment of such standards for fisheries products entering into international trade must depend in the first instance on the fullest available information being obtained as to the description, regulations, and standards that already exist in various countries,
- Recommends that the collection of the necessary information already initiated by the Fisheries Division of FAO be continued, and a report made to member governments. The Conference further considers that the words "Commodity Standards" (for fisheries products) might well be substituted for "Quality Standards" (for fisheries products), since these words more precisely denote the scope of the project.
The second point upon which the advice of the Conference has been sought is in relation to regional councils.
There are many areas in the world where there is need for a vigorous attack on the problems of securing adequate information about sea and fresh-water fisheries; such basic knowledge is essential to secure a maximum continuous yield. The facets of the scientific problem presented are so intricate and the field so extensive and international in nature, that it is beyond the capacity of any one nation to make such an attack by itself in a completely effective way. Cooperative approach by nations in a particular region is clearly demanded. Where such approach is not provided for by existing bodies, the Third Session of the Conference recommended that FAO should take action to initiate the formation of regional councils in parts of the world now not actively served by such or similar bodies, giving primary consideration to the following areas:
Southwestern Pacific and Indian Ocean,
Mediterranean Sea and contiguous waters,
Western South Atlantic, and
Eastern South Atlantic and Indian Ocean,
and that the boundaries of these areas and the constitution of the councils should be left open for discussion and determination by the member nations concerned.
These councils would be concerned principally with the work of formulating problems, deciding the priority of approach, and co-ordinating the efforts of member governments in the research program formulated. FAO was to provide the secretariat for such councils and it was contemplated that wherever two or more member governments of such councils co-operate under any form of agreement to undertake and finance contributory joint research, similar secretariat serve! ices, if necessary, could be rendered by FAO within its means.
In pursuance of this policy, an agreement has been achieved at Baguio which has already been accepted by six governments, and the inaugural meeting is to take place in accordance with the! agreement on or before 9 May 1949. The Conference feels that the Fisheries Division is to be congratulated on having completed the initiation of this council. While it was not specifically set forth in the resolution of the Third Session of the Conference, it was understood that the initial efforts of the Fisheries Division would be devoted to the establishment of regional councils in the first three areas listed above. The second of these areas is already covered by the proposed Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council, and it is noted that certain proposals by member governments have been initiated which may lead to a treaty covering the first area, or Northwestern Atlantic, which may accomplish many of the purposes of a fisheries council in that area. There remain, however, the other areas mentioned in the Geneva resolution, and after a full discussion of the problem, the Conference notes with satisfaction the progress made in establishment of the Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council and reiterates approval of the establishment of such councils in parts of the world not now served by such or similar bodies.
- Recommends that the necessary preparatory work towards the establishment of such a fisheries council be commenced in such region as, in the light of all circumstances, may be deemed appropriate by the Director-General
G. Forestry and forest products division
In the past year and in accordance with the recommendations of the Third Session of the Conference, the Division of Forestry and Forest Products has progressed from plans to action.
The Conference expresses its satisfaction with these results. In certain respects they fall short of what was desired, but they constitute a maximum accomplishment for the funds and staff available to the Division.
In view of existing budgetary limitations, the program of work for 1949 as endorsed by the Standing Advisory Committee, constitutes a reasonable selection of projects. The Conference expresses its general approval of this program.
The Conference draws attention to the necessity for close co-operation between the Division of Agriculture and the Division of Forestry and Forest Products on the urgent question concerning the relationship between shifting cultivation and forests in tropical countries. It desires further to emphasize the interest it attaches to the projects the Division has already undertaken or proposes to undertake, concerning such subjects as uniformity in common and commercial names of tropical woods, forestry legislation, the problems of technical forestry training in countries with forest resources, and forestry combines, all offering possibilities of co-operation with different organizations already in existence.
A certain number of points on the program have particularly caught the attention of the Conference.
Regional activities constitute the best means of developing regional forest policy by co-ordination of national programs and stimulation of intraregional trade. Accordingly,
- Invites the European Commission for Forestry and Forest Products to submit its findings direct to the Council of FAO, and European governments to give it continued support and to facilitate the work of any subsidiary or affiliated bodies to be established.
- Approves the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report of the Latin-American Conference on Forestry and Forest Products and urges all governments to take measures to implement the recommendations.
- Notes with gratification the offer of the Brazilian Government to act as host to FAO's Forestry and Forest Products Working Group for Latin America,
- Urges the Director-General to establish this working group without delay;
- Invites all governments of Latin America to cooperate in the establishment of a commission for Forestry and Forest Products which should hold its first session during 1949; and
- Urges these governments to establish five year programs for the development of their forests and forest industries;
- Requests that the proposals to establish a Central Latin-American forestry institute and research center be actively followed up.
- Notes with approval that, in conformity with a recommendation of last year's session of the: Conference; exploratory staff travel has been carried out and a Forestry and Timber Conference is being organized for 1949 to examine the particular problems of the countries of Asia and the Far East, and of the Pacific area;
- Is gratified to learn that the governments of Burma, India, and New Zealand have offered to act as hosts for this Conference but understands that the Director-General requires some additional information before being able-to. accept one of these invitations;
- Hopes that the interested governments will be able to supply the necessary information to Washington before 15 January 1949; and
- Requests the Director-General to announce by 31 January 1949 the site and date of the Forestry and Timber Conference of the Far East, with due regard to the convenience of interested governments, expressing the hope that all governments of the region will participate and include qualified technicians in their delegations.
- Recommends, in view of the well-known needs of Asia for fuel which have for so long necessitated the use of dried cow. dung for cooking fires instead of for fertilizer, and in view of the need for forage for cattle and for a large number of other minor forest products, that FAO devote early attention to assisting Asian governments in co-ordinating their efforts toward the study of:
(a) methods of increasing fuelwood supplies through the establishment of fast-growing trees;
(b) methods of combining cattle grazing with growing trees, where suitable, and proper utilization of forest grazing lands; and
(c) methods of increasing production of such so-called minor forest products as lac, honey, wax, and medicinal products.
Relations with Other United Nations Agencies
The Conference is impressed with the progress achieved in Europe with regard to increased timber production and export through the timber . equipment program carried out in co-operation with the Economic Commission for Europe and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.. It believes that the experience gained in this instance should be given due attention on-a wider scale and should serve as a pattern for similar action in other regions. In particular,
- Recommends continued co-operation with the Economic Commission for Europe in the work of the Timber Committee; and
- Expresses the hope that co-operation with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development can be intensified with the purpose of helping governments of industrially underdeveloped countries to: open up forest resources at present unexploited and to establish modern integrated forest industries with due to regard to the short-term and long-term needs of forest products;
-Urges continued co-operation with the International Refugee Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and other international agencies, with the aim of facilitating the settlement of forestry technicians and workers anxious to find new homes in countries which need trained personnel for the development of their forest and forest industries; and welcomes the co-operation of UNESCO in connection with the proposed preparatory Conference on World Wood Pulp Problems, and hopes that this co-operation can in due course be organized along permanent lines;
- Approves the Director-General's intention of establishing close working contacts with the Economic Commission for Latin America and with the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, in connection with the Division's regional programs in Latin America and the Far East.
Relations with Other International Bodies
The Conference considers that it is FAO's responsibility to co-ordinate all activities concerning the forest and its products and to ensure direct and close contacts between technicians and research organizations. Accordingly,
- Having noted the report presented by the Division of Forestry and Forest Products,
- Invites the Director-General to give implementation to the agreement arranged by the International Union of Forest Research Stations and FAO;
- Expressing its satisfaction with the organization and work of the International Poplar Commission, and also with the agreements included in its constitution ensuring close cooperation with FAO,
- Urges all interested countries to become members of this commission;
- Expressing its satisfaction with the proposed organization of an International Chestnut Commission along lines identical to those envisaged for the International Poplar Commission,
- Urges all countries interested to become members of this Commission.
Third World Forestry Congress
- Is gratified to learn of the invitation from the Government of Finland to hold the Third World Forestry Congress at Helsinki in July 1949, and has received with interest the Division's report about progress in the preparation for the congress, in line with the recommendations made by the Third Session of the Conference;
- Hopes that the congress will be widely attended by forestry experts from all parts of the world; and
- Requests the Director-General to report the results of the congress to the next session of the FAO Conference.
Preparatory Conference on World Wood Pulp Problems 4
In view of the uncertain outlook with regard to productive capacity and demand for wood pulp,
- Considers that more attention should be given to this important commodity; and
- Approves of the organization in the very near future of a Preparatory Conference on World Wood Pulp Problems, for the purpose of attempting a broad survey of the world situation and outlook, and of formulating a program of regular international statistics. It greatly appreciates the co-operation of the Government of Canada and the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association in inviting the Conference to hold its first session at Montreal, and urges all countries having wood pulp to participate actively.
Progress in forest development and the application of improved production methods in forest industries is being delayed by difficulties encountered by many countries in securing production requisites. The timber equipment program developed with regard to Europe constitutes an important demonstration of the practical advantages to be gained from international cooperation in this respect. Therefore,
- Recommends that the Division devote increased attention to the problem of forestry requisites and modern equipment for forest industries; and that the Division continue its activities towards advising governments about techniques and sources of equipment and also assisting them in drawing up programs for the procurement of timber equipment and financing of such programs.
- Approves the work of FAO in compiling and publishing forestry statistics. These include Forest Resources of the World, Yearbook of Forest Products Statistics, and Timber Statistics produced in co-operation with the Economic Commission for Europe. The Conference calls the attention of governments to the fact that delays and incompleteness of questionnaires returned, militate against the effectiveness of FAO's work in this field. The Conference emphasizes the importance of periodical surveys of forest resources, and
- Recommends that FAO, as far as possible intensify its work with respect to improving forest inventories.
- Calling attention to the report of the European Commission on Forestry and Forest Products (first session),
- Recommends that the proposals on forestry and forest products statistics in this report be given due consideration in the future activities of the Division.
The Conference stresses the need to apply modern scientific methods to forest management and silvicultural practices in different parts of the world, and recognizes the importance attached by member governments to FAO's advisory services in this field. Accordingly,
- Stressing the importance of establishing forestry schools in all countries having important forest resources,
(1) that the studies initiated by FAO on forestry education be actively continued, and urges member governments to co-operate in the development of training centers in the fields of forestry and forest products;
(2) that FAO vigorously continue its studies towards standardizing testing methods for wood products, and its work on wood chemistry; and
(3) that, in connection with the urgent need for a rational handling of the world's unexploited forests, and recognizing the importance of establishing integrated forest industries, the Division explore possibilities in this field in co-operation with the United Nations Department of Economic Affairs.
Tropical Agriculture and Forestry
The deleterious effects of destructive nomadic agriculture, overgrazing, overcutting, and burning in tropical and subtropical regions are producing a situation that threatens the very livelihood of millions of people. The progressive deterioration of the soil and the disruption of water supply must command the immediate attention of all governments in these regions. Efforts to attack the problem are practicable at this time because of the accumulated experience of many countries already suffering the consequences of past abuses of the land. This was recognized most recently by the African Conference on Soils, held at Goma, Belgian Congo, in November 1948, and the Inter-American Conference for the Conservation of Renewable Resources, held at Denver, Colorado, in September 1948.
That research into the causes of soil deterioration and into the application of control measures is within the jurisdiction of FAO, was recognized specifically by the Forestry and Forest Products Committee of the Interim Commission. It has been reiterated at subsequent sessions of the Conferences as a matter for collaboration between the Divisions of Agriculture and Forestry and Forest Products. In order to assure the harmonious use of land, security of the people, and a better standard of living, it is essential to bring together the techniques of agriculture, forestry, and grazing management. This will involve the study of such specific problems as the following:
(1) vegetational changes following clearing. and cropping,
(2) effects of grazing on the forests,
(3) range management methods,
(4) improved utilization of grasses and other forage,
(5) watershed protection and irrigation control, and
(6) social problems.
In order to secure prompt action,
- Recommends that the Director-General
(1) convene at a suitable time and place an international meeting of governments on land utilization in tropical and subtropical regions;
(2) invite governments to send as their representatives, administrators and technical experts in this field; and
(3) assign to such a conference the task of defining the specific problems and of apportioning the work among research and administrative bodies existing in many of the countries.