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V. Technical activities of FAO

A. The program in general
B. Agriculture
C. Economics, marketing and statistics, and distribution
D. Fisheries
E. Forestry and forest products
F. Information
G. Nutrition
H. Rural welfare

A. The program in general

Work of FAO in 1948/49

The Conference

- Records its appreciation of the work of the Director-General and his staff in 1949;

- Considers that this work has been fully consistent with the objectives of the Organization; and

- Takes note of the report of the Director-General on the work of FAO in 1948/49.

Program of Work for 1950

The Conference

Having examined the Director-General's Draft Program of Work for 1950;

- Generally approves this program, subject to the amendments made in the light of the recommendation made by this Session of the Conference; and

- Suggests that, since the program thus amended cannot be completed during 1950, the uncompleted portion of the 1950 program be subsequently continued until the member governments have the opportunity of considering the future program.

Extension and Advisory Services

The Conference has had, as a basis for discussion, a draft resolution by the United States Delegation (C49/II/21); a series of communications from the technical panels; the comments and observation; of the Pre-Conference Regional Meetings, of the European and Latin-American meetings held on this subject during 1949, of the Director-General in his presentation of the work and program of FAO, of the Economic and Social Council in its discussion of the proposed expanded Program of Technical Assistance, and of many delegates to the Conference.

Every technical panel has stressed the great importance of advisory and extension services to the attainment within member countries of the objectives of the Food and Agriculture Organization. The general attitude is typified by the argument set out by the Agriculture and Rural Welfare Panels, which may be briefly stated as follows: The greatest gap in knowledge within the field of FAO is usually that between the knowledge of a country's experts and the knowledge of its producers, and not between the knowledge of experts in different countries. This gap can be bridged only by advisory and extension services conveying knowledge as expeditiously as the circumstances permit from the expert to the producer. It is also pointed out that the best results from extension work on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries might not be achieved - particularly in underdeveloped countries - unless attention is given concurrently to the problems of health, nutrition, and education. It might be necessary therefore for FAO, in individual cases, to draw attention to the need for close co-operation and liaison between those responsible for extension work and those responsible for health and education services.

The Rural Welfare Panel further indicates that "the approach to the organization and conduct of extension services in any country must be through the culture of the people" and "must accord with the accustomed ways, institutions and organizations" (C49/17). It adds that this principle is of especial importance where long-established farming communities have deeply rooted customs, traditions, and forms of organization. The Agriculture Panel expands this proposition by emphasizing the importance of diversity in human life and by drawing the conclusion that individual countries must therefore make their own decisions on the form, scope, and methods of their national extension services, though FAO should, of course, be in a position to help and advise in these decisions. By this approach, and perhaps by exploratory projects in extension work, that self-help and mutual help which is the sure means of progress will best be attained. Obviously such services should be placed at the disposal of all producers without discrimination and should not go outside the technical sphere. These sentiments are clearly implicit in the observations of all panels.

The Rural Welfare Panel adds two specific observations: First, that in many countries the unit of production within the field of FAO is the family and not the individual. Hence the improvement of home and community life is necessary not only to achieve the FAO objective of "bettering the condition of rural populations," but also to increase the efficiency of the producer. Consequently, great importance must be attached in the advisory and extension services to improvements in nutrition, health, housing, and other subjects included in the general term "home economics," and to the encouragement of organizations of rural women and young people. (The Agriculture Panel also subscribes to this view.) Second, that the great importance of cooperatives as a means of rendering services to rural populations by mutual assistance should be recognized, and that extension and advisory services should make full use of such societies.

The Agriculture Panel stresses the need for the careful selection and training of extension workers, who must command respect and inspire confidence among those with whom they are working. These workers must have adequate technical and practical knowledge of their subject and of the problems of those they are seeking to help. They should be persons of high moral character and ready sympathy, and have a lively understanding of rural culture and traditions.

This panel further points out that it is difficult to see how extension and advisory work can be developed, with due safety, except from a firm foundation of research and local investigation and experiment; the advice given must be based on solid facts established by solid work in the country concerned. The Conference notes that the common use of the word "extension" to describe advisory work is based precisely on this recognition of the intimate connection between scientific knowledge and its practical application. In such application it is desired to emphasize the importance of demonstration under conditions approximating those in which the producers actually work.

The Nutrition Panel considers that nutrition should be included in all programs to better the conditions of rural and urban populations through extension and advisory services. These services should be related to broad programs, based on nutritional principles, covering the production, distribution, and consumption of food.

Farm families need integrated services concerned with both agriculture and nutrition, the objective of which is to promote the production on each farm of a reasonable proportion of the annual food supply of the family, in accordance with its nutritional and social requirements. Such integrated programs call for an understanding of the quantities of different kinds of food needed by each family group to ensure satisfactory nutrition. Further, families must be taught safe and efficient ways of preserving foods between harvesting and consumption and of preparing them for the table attractively in such a way that nutritional values are conserved to the greatest possible extent. Families which do not produce food need guidance on the intelligent selection and buying of food as well as on food preservation and preparation.

The Forestry Panel notes that very successful results have been obtained in improved silviculture, in forest protection, and in the better utilization of forest produce through the medium of extension services. It also mentions the importance of co-operatives.

The Fisheries Panel emphasizes that the importance attached to advisory and extension services in other fields applies equally to those for fishermen.

The Panel on Economics, Marketing and Statistics, and Distribution considers that work on the subjects dealt with in this panel should go hand in hand with work in technical projects and should be directly related to the program for the development of advisory services and that the arrangements made should be similar. The panel also draws attention to the importance of the cooperative approach, especially in the fields of marketing and credit.

It is clear from all the information the Conference has received on this subject that neither FAO's regular program of work nor an expanded Technical Assistance Program can be fully effective unless governments establish for themselves, or, where necessary, strengthen existing arrangements for such services as will put advanced information and techniques in the hands of rural peoples, where they be put to use.

It is also clear that an important part of the function of FAO is to help governments improve these services. The education of rural peoples involves special techniques and procedures which often cut across lines, and it must have due regard to the customs, educational status, and economic conditions in each particular area. Provision for advisory services in each subject-matter division may not be effective unless fully integrated both within the Organization and within the countries concerned.

The Conference therefore

- Recommends that member governments strengthen, or where necessary create, officially sponsored and well-integrated services contributing to the advancement of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and rural living, with particular emphasis on extension or advisory services; and further

- Recommends that the Director-General, with a view to dealing as effectively as possible with requests from member governments for assistance in devising, organizing, and applying methods for the extension education of rural peoples, give special consideration to the integration both at headquarters and in the field, of the various advisory activities of the different divisions of FAO.

Policy in Drafting Programs of Work

The Conference has considered in some detail the procedure to be adopted at future sessions in examining the Director-General's Program of Work. It has been felt that, with the budget statements a detailed anticipation of the cost of major activities and groups of projects should be presented to the governments in advance of the Conference in order to permit a thorough examination of the Program of Work. Specific proposals for correcting this situation have been presented in Commission II, and have been transmitted to the Director-General for consideration. Furthermore, the Conference feels that the present system of program examination is of limited use, because, in practice, the examination is made only a few weeks before the beginning of the year to which the program relates and because, for administrative and financial reasons, it is then too late for the Conference to make any substantial amendments. It concludes, therefore, that at future sessions the Director-General should be asked to present, for final approval, the draft Program of Work for the immediately succeeding year and a provisional program for the second succeeding year. Thus, should the next session be held in November 1950, the Conference would be able to examine the final program for 1951 and the provisional program for 1952.

This suggestion accords with the views of the Conference on the policy which the Director-General should be asked to adopt in planning his program of work. The Conference fully recognizes that if the Organization is to retain the efficient and loyal service of its staff, and if this staff is to be effectively used to further the objectives of FAO, there must be a substantial degree of continuity and certainty in program policy. The program cannot and should not be changed lightly from year to year.

On the other hand, the Organization should be kept sufficiently flexible to permit its program to reflect the changing needs of member governments. This means that, in any one year, the program of work must inevitably be a compromise between the needs for administrative stability and for program flexibility The Conference feels, therefore, that it should give the Director-General some guidance in the solution of this problem.

It feels, first, that the Director-General, when framing his program, should include in it only a limited number of projects, all of major importance. In this way he could avoid dispersion of staff and financial resources over numerous small projects and ensure the completion of important projects.

Second, while emphasizing that provision of basic economic data is one of the paramount duties of FAO, the Conference welcomes the tendency to increase projects which extend direct aid to member governments in order to enlarge production and improve nutrition. This trend should be strengthened as circumstances permit, if necessary at the expense of those activities which are of less direct value to those countries that have not as yet fully developed food and agricultural administrations.

Third, greater emphasis should be placed on activities aimed at increasing the production of food and primary products. In this context the Conference welcomes the tendency of the Organization to increase expenditures and effort on production services and urges the Director-General to seize every opportunity to expand these services.

Fourth, the probable advent of the expanded Program of Technical Assistance will not only call for increased work by the Organization but will necessitate the careful integration of the regular program of FAO with the Technical Assistance Program. The Conference feels that FAO should not, as a consequence of the Technical Assistance Program, alter the general character of its regular program. The objective of FAO must continue to be to offer help where help is most needed.

National FAO Committees

The Conference recognizes that the work of FAO and of member governments might be facilitated in many ways if, where necessary, the governments designate honorary FAO correspondents on particular subjects. There is a special need now, for example, for a regular exchange of information on co-operatives, and for developing better information on fertilizer needs, supplies, and use.

The Conference again emphasizes the important rode national nutrition committees can play in promoting basic objectives of the Organization. It also invites governments to include experts on rural welfare, particularly in relation to work with women and children, on National FAO Committees. Each National FAO Committee might well include also at least one person experienced in information work.

Furthermore, if National FAO committees are to be fully effective, they must be kept well informed and up to date by the Organization on developments of interest within each country relating to the work of FAO.

Regional Activities

The Conference welcomes the increasing decentralization of the work of FAO in suitable cases and the growth of regional activities, as indicated in the following sections on technical services. It is particularly gratified to note the successful establishment of regional councils or commissions on fisheries, on forestry and forest products, and on certain phases of agriculture.

The Conference notes with appreciation that the Director-General plans to establish a regional office in Latin America in the near future.

Some of the Organization's regional activities affect the whole field of FAO work. Perhaps the most important of these are the Pre-Conference Regional Meetings, which were started this year. The Conference feels that this experiment justifies continuation, provided, however, that the agenda for the meetings are sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of governments. Member countries should be asked four months before the date of a proposed regional meeting whether they desire one and what subjects they wish to include in the agenda. In some areas, periodic visits to countries by the regional representative of FAO may be an adequate substitute for a regional meeting, which, if it is to be effective, inevitably draws heavily upon the personnel both of member governments and of the Organization. Finally, the Conference wishes to emphasize that the agenda of regional meetings should deal with broad economic and technical problems of the countries of the region rather than with the detailed work of FAO and that the wide range of the objectives of the Organization should not be overlooked.

The Conference emphasizes that the functions of the regional bodies of FAO (for instance those specializing in fisheries and forestry and forest products) should be kept flexible and adjustable to local needs. It is important that these FAO regional bodies co-operate fully with other regional bodies in the same fields in order to reduce duplication. In some cases it may be practicable to save FAO staff and money by encouraging regional bodies to expand. As with Pre-Conference Regional Meetings, it is important that member governments of specialized FAO regional bodies be consulted on the timing, place and agenda of meeting. It its also important that regional meetings be held only after adequate preparation has been made.

B. Agriculture

The Conference has considered and approves the work carried out by the Organization in the field of agriculture during the past year and the program of work proposed for 1950, as amended below. In relation to specific items in the program of work for 1950, it is suggested that the following projects be included, wherever possible in co-operation with existing organizations.

The Conference suggests

- That the proposed rinderpest meeting be deleted from the 1950 Program of Work and be replaced by a meeting on foot and mouth disease, to be arranged in co-operation with the Office International des Epizooties;

- That methods of treating phosphate rock for production of phosphate fertilizers be investigated by the Organization, and that the information be disseminated;

- That the present program of collecting information on the standardization of far m machinery and parts be expanded, with particular reference to the operation of machinery on small farms and under tropical conditions;

- That the possibility be investigated of obtaining, through member governments, literature covering recent developments in agriculture, of disseminating such literature intact, where possible, to other member governments, and, where this is not feasible, of summarizing the literature and sending the summaries instead;

- That, through a study of soil and climatic factors, the possibilities be examined during 1950 of predicting the adaptability of plant varieties to areas where they might be introduced, with a view to determining the desirability of including a more detailed study of this subject in the work program for 1951;

- That, in compiling information on grasses, legumes, and other fodder crops, and their likely fields of use, special emphasis be given to tropical grasses and fodder crops;

- That the collation of information on international plant quarantine measures be quickly expanded ;

- That, after discussion with the International Botanical Congress, a small working party be convened to exchange experience in different countries in the use of modern chemical and biological weed-killers;

- That consideration be given to the possibility of expanding activities of the Colorado Beetle Committee to cover all plant pests and diseases of international importance in Europe, and that the European Regional Representative of FAO discuss appropriate methods with the Committee;

- That Latin-American countries be included in the proposed program of rice breeding as set up under the International Rice Commission;

- That, in the work on hybrid maize, sufficient stress be placed on the dangers and pitfalls of uncontrolled importation, local experimentation, and commercial production of hybrid maize in the various member countries; and

- That, in future, the Program of Work be drawn up in greater detail, particularly with reference to budgetary implications, and, where possible, to detailed use by outside experts

World Reporting on Plant Diseases, Insect Pests, and Information on Control

The Conference recognizes that plant diseases and insect pests readily cross national boundaries, becoming established in new territories and often causing serious and widespread damage; and that a world reporting service, which might be progressively built up from relatively modest beginnings, would be of immense value in providing for governments information that would make possible adequate control and preventive measures.

The Conference therefore recommends -

- That FAO aim at establishing or bringing about the establishment of such a centralized service to report on the incidence of plant diseases and insect pests of such economic importance as to require coordinated action by governments or other international interests, and particularly on outbreaks or infestations in previously free areas;

- That FAO facilitate action by governments to eradicate and control plant diseases;

- That as a first step the Director-General should explore the possibility (a) of enlisting the aid of member countries which have national reporting services with a view to stimulating and assisting in the improvement of these services and the development of interrelationships which would in effect link them into an international network by making use also of any regional organizations now in existence; and (b) of stimulating and assisting in the establishment of national services in countries where they do not now exist, with the objective of making them part of an international network as rapidly as possible;

- That a report on the progress of this investigation be made to the next regular session of the Conference; anti

- That, during 1950, immediately after meeting in the Netherlands on phytopathological services, a meeting of specialists be held to consider the desirability of modifying the Phylloxera Contentions ratified at Berne in 1881 and the Plant :Protection Convention of the International Institute of Agriculture (IIA) ratified al Rome in 1929; and that the International Wine Office be invited to participate in this meeting.

World Reporting and Control of Animal Diseases

The Conference

Recognizing the advantages of having a single international system for collecting and disseminating information on the occurrence of transmissible animal diseases of international importance, and to enable all governments to coordinate their varous activities in the control of such diseases,

- Recommends that the Director-General investigate the possibility of co-operation with the Office International des Epizooties in this matter; and further

- Recommends that, by agreement with the Office International des Epizooties, a joint committee composed of representatives of three governments who are members of OIE three governments not members of OIE and a representative respectively of OIE and the Director-General of FAO be set up to examine the possibilities of (a) expanding the membership of OIE so as to serve adequately all members of FAO, (b) establishing within FAO a similar service for members of FAO who are not members of OIE, (c) integrating the functions of OIE and FAO in this field, or (d) any other appropriate method of achieving the objectives set out above; and to report thereon to the OIE and the Council of FAO in time for consideration by the Sixth Session of the FAO Conference.

Interchange of Information on Fertilizer

The Conference

Having noted the proposal for a regional conference of fertilizer specialists in Latin America,


- That the proposed conference be postponed until there has been opportunity to make adequate preparations;

- That governments designate experts on fertilizers in their respective countries to act as correspondents with FAO and with each other, in order to establish a means of interchange of information about the supply, utilization, manufacture requirements! and value of fertilizer materials under different soil conditions; and

- That when the proposed conference is held it should particular!! consider the production of fertilizers in each country in the region, especially where fertilizers are basic products in the economy, with the object of achieving production and marketing policies.

National Programs for Land and Water Conservation and Utilization

The Conference believes that most countries have potentialities for further productive development of their land and water resources. Basic to further development is the formulation of national and where the need arises, inter-governmental land and water programs which will promote the correct use and eel e of resources and reconcile those conflicting interests that so often stand in the way of conservation and full utilization. It is urgent!! necessary all member governments provide for themselves the legal powers and administrative machinery required for the formulation and operation of such programs.

The Conference therefore recommends

- That each member government examine its legal powers and administrative machinery and seek to obtain further powers and, if necessary, create additional facilities, and

- That FAO (a) on request provide assistance to member governments or groups of governments to carry out this work, and (b) promote intergovernmental consideration of problem in this field affecting, mole than one country.

Renewable Natural Resources in the Western Hemisphere

The Conference has studied with interest the proposal made by the Government of Ecuador at the Pre-Conference Regional Meeting at Quito for the establishment of an Inter-American Institute for Soil Conservation and Afforestation. It welcomes this proposal as further evidence of the interest in conservation and wise use of natural resources, which is rapidly growing not only in Latin America but in other regions and which augurs well for the advancement of FAO's objectives.

The Conference notes, however, that the Inter-American Conference on Conservation of Renewable Natural Resources, held at Denver in 1948, resulted in the formation of an Executive Committee to bring about and create the means for co-operation among the countries of the Western Hemisphere in the development and conservation of renewable natural resources through scientific and technical advice, publications, research, education, and exchange of personnel. The Executive Committee includes representatives of FAO, the Organization of American States, and the Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences. The Deputy Director-General of FAO has been selected as Chairman. The Committee is to be assisted by an Advisory Committee of experts from official and private organizations.

In view of the existence of this Executive Committee, representing three organizations concerned with conservation in Latin America. the Conference is of the opinion that the proposal to establish an Inter-American Institute of Soil Conservation and Afforestation should be referred to it for consideration.

Joint WHO/FAO Malaria Control Program

The Conference -

Having considered the recommendation of the Council (Report of the Sixth Session) that provision should be made in the Organization's expanded Program of Technical Assistance for full co-operation with the World Health Organization in joint projects for the control of malaria and the stimulation of food production;

- Approves the participation of FAO with WHO in any joint projects for the control of malaria and the stimulation of food production which are requested by countries or groups of countries under the expanded program; and

- Requests the Director-General (a) to give this scheme the greatest possible emphasis in the expanded Program of Technical Assistance for underdeveloped areas, and (b) to make the earliest possible arrangements for a joint survey of the areas where the scheme will yield the best results.

Work Program after 1950

The Conference recommends

- That a meeting of specialists on a world-wide scale be held during 1951 on the problem of water utilization and control;

- That the work initiated by FAO for the exchange of seeds of disease - resistant and high - yielding strains and varieties be strengthened and

- That due attention be paid to assisting governments in establishing or improving services of crop registration and seed inspection in their countries.

(For a summary of the Agriculture Panel report on Technical Assistance; for a summary of the Agriculture Panel report on Extension and Advisory Services)

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