Sixty-second Session


Fifteenth Session

Rome, 7-9 May 1997



1. At its Sixty-first Session, held in Rome on 25-28 February 1997, the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) deliberated intensively on the role and functioning of the intergovernmental commodity groups and the need for international cooperation on tropical fruits. The purpose of this document is to inform the Intergovernmental Group (IGG) on Bananas of the decisions taken by its parent body which have a direct effect on the structure and functioning of the Group.


2. After recognizing the importance of tropical fruits for the improvement of nutrition, export earnings and food security in developing countries, the CCP "decided to call on the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas to establish an interim Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits", and "... agreed that the Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits should subsequently be merged with the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas into one Group with separate sub-groups dealing with bananas and tropical fruits"1.

3. The Committee also "decided that there was a need to carry out an in-depth review of the mandate and structure of its intergovernmental commodity group system, with a view to rationalizing and strengthening the functions and scope of the IGGs to achieve maximum benefits from their operations. Such a review might entail the restructuring of the IGG system. This would also include the above decision on the merging of the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas with the Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits. The Committee therefore recommended that the role and functioning of the IGGs be again considered at its Sixty-second Session, taking into full account the conclusions and guidance of the Council and Conference with regard to the ongoing review of all statutory bodies"2.


4. The CCP considered the administrative and financial implications of various approaches to cooperation on tropical fruits on the basis of document CCP: 97/18. It concluded that work on tropical fruits should be planned so as to allow the Secretariat to deliver the necessary programme within available resources. The Committee stressed that the additional costs of this work should be offset "by savings including reduced frequency of sessions of the Intergovernmental Group on Wine and Vine Products, and other measures such as the convening of joint sessions of other intergovernmental groups"3.

5. In the interim, prior to the merging of the Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits with the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas, the Government of Thailand offered to host a meeting of the Sub-Group, probably in April 1998. The CCP expressed appreciation for this invitation.

6. The First Session of the merged Intergovernmental Group composed of the Sub-Groups on Bananas and on Tropical Fruits would thus be convened in about two years' time, probably in mid-1999. This session would thus most likely follow the Sixty-second Session of the CCP at which the functioning and scope of all IGGs will be reviewed in depth. In this case, the Report of the interim Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits would be submitted directly to the Sixty-second Session of the CCP pending final arrangements regarding the structure of the Intergovernmental Group.


7. As a result of the decisions of the CCP, it is necessary that the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas now establish a subsidiary body, the Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits (SGTF). The SGTF shall operate under the same Rules of Procedure as the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas, and its Terms of Reference shall be developed and adopted by the Group. The attached draft Terms of Reference (Appendix) have been prepared by the Secretariat for the Group's consideration. They closely mirror the Terms of Reference of the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas itself, although somewhat greater emphasis is placed on development of data and market information, which are relatively less well developed for tropical fruits than for bananas.

8. The Group is requested to establish the Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits. In doing so, it may wish to review the attached Terms of Reference as a basis for defining the mandate of the Sub-Group.



1. The Sub-Group shall provide a forum for consultations on and studies of the economic aspects of production, marketing, trade and consumption of tropical fruits.

2. The field of competence of the Sub-Group shall include:

(a) strengthening data collection, standardize presentation and improve dissemination of information on production, utilization, exports and imports of tropical fruits, both in the short- and long-term;

(b) studies on the economic aspects of consumption, with special reference to the relations between consumption and prices, income, trade barriers and distribution systems, and studies on the possibilities of increasing world consumption, analyzing and improving the understanding of the markets to enable effective planning and programming;

(c) studies of the efficiency and social aspects of the tropical fruit industry with particular reference to the improvement of nutrition and living standards of those engaged in the tropical fruit industry;

(d) studies of economic problems of production, transportation, marketing and distribution of tropical fruits, including those of improvement of quality, with a view to developing recommendations for promoting the marketing of high quality tropical fruits at prices that are fair to both producers and consumers.

3. The Sub-Group shall consider how best to deal with any special difficulties which may exist or may be expected to arise and shall submit reports and/or recommendations on the subject to the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas.

1 Report of the Sixty-first Session of the CCP, CL 112/6, para. 19.


2 Ibid., para. 23.

3 Ibid., para. 20.