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D. Technical assistance for economic development

Analysis of Views Received and Methods Applicable

This paper is an attempt to analyze the replies received to the Director-General's letter G/50, addressed to all member governments, and to the series of letters addressed to organizations and individuals considered by member governments likely to make a contribution to the subject under consideration.

Some of the countries addressed had had no experience of the kind required. Among the rest experience falls into the following categories:

1. Experience in supplying technical aid to a foreign country.

2. Experience of a metropolitan country (or of individual citizens of that country) in providing technical aid to its colonial territories.

3. Experience of receiving technical aid from an outside source.

4. Experience of a country (or of its individual citizens) in providing technical aid to the less advanced classes of its own population.

Some replies moved outside the bounds of actual experience and included accounts of programs for future development and of individual projects in which they were interested. These accounts are excluded from the present analysis, as the Director-General's letter clearly related to means and not to ends. Again, many replies included detailed accounts of types of agencies and organizations and of techniques applicable within a country as a means to development. These also have somewhat regretfully been excluded from the present paper, except to the extent that they can be used in explanation of more general principles. To include them would make the present paper unduly lengthy and would also tend to confuse the issue and even to present a distorted picture, since only certain types of organization and technique are described in the documents on which the paper is based.

In form, the material submitted varies widely. It includes original letters and memoranda dealing with the subject in general or with particular aspects of it, papers written for other purposes than the present reference, annual and special reports of departments and institutions, and explanatory or demonstrative pamphlets. It has also seemed suitable to take into consideration statements on the subject made by national representatives at ECOSOC meetings and at FAO Regional Meetings, since some of these contain valuable material.

The analysis of this heterogeneous mass of material, much of it in no way predigested, has been a task of very considerable difficulty. The findings may seem somewhat obvious in comparison with the work involved, but close analysis of the papers has at least produced one most interesting and instructive conclusion: there is virtual unanimity on the methods available, on the potentialities and limitations of those methods, and on the general principles which must govern any attempt to supply technical aid from external sources. In preparing the analysis every effort has been made to give due weight to every point of view expressed in the data, and it is thought that the measure of general agreement disclosed will be found impressive.

General Principles

Perhaps the most fundamental principle involved is that the method of approach is all-important. The thesis is that the "burning desire" of all peoples is for self-respect, self-help, and self-determination. This desire is strengthened and stimulated by contacts with more advanced individuals and communities and especially by improved education. These feelings breed intolerance of the imposition of outside ideas, which at the worst may give rise to a conflict of racial antipathies and almost always find expression in a "pride in the achievements of their ancestors" (2) and in a too great confidence in local ability and endeavor (1). In the less advanced communities the situation is also frequently complicated by a lack of "ground leaders" due to the smallness of the educated classes and to their rapid elevation following changes in the political system (2). These very human feelings, though natural and in no way to be reprehended, inevitably cause difficulties in providing aid from outside sources. There arise in all such cases an "emotional or psychological conflict" (2), a dislike of "paternal benevolence," and a sensitiveness to "patronage" (1), which breed suspicion as to the motives behind even the most obviously advantageous technical project and may give rise to an absence of sympathetic environment which can discourage even the pure research worker. This basic difficulty can only he overcome by preliminary and sympathetic studies to determine an acceptable approach. It is necessary to arrange that improvements be induced by understanding rather than by direction (2), that the final plans should emerge "as proposals born of local needs." Therefore only those projects which are conceived "as a result of close contacts with the people," or by exchange of ideas with the people, will enjoy full local support and will be carried out with determined good will and co-operation (1). The aim should be progress through self-help aided by intimate expert advice (23).

Allied with this is the necessity of persuading the foreign expert of the potential ability of peoples other than his own and of the reality and value of their past achievement, so that opportunities and outlets may be provided at all levels for these potentialities and that what is of value in these past achievements may not be lost (1).

There is a special difficulty in the case of communities having a social structure based on a traditional order. It may be extremely difficult in such a community "to strike the spark of individual endeavor." Established social authority sees opposition to its authority in any change. In such communities there tends also to be a deep respect for customs (2), and an ignorance born of isolation and poor communications. On the other hand, the local intelligentsia, under the stimulus of new ideas, too often seek to destroy prematurely the traditional foundation on which social stability and the food supply still depend (1). Probably this difficulty can only be overcome by a widening of education and by increased contacts with other countries. The fear of change and the more specific fear of exploitation will best be removed by realization of a personal capacity to contribute to the common good.

The next basic principle is that, in general, agricultural development, except to a strictly limited extent, is only possible if the level of general education is also raised. By "education" in this case is meant "being taught how to learn" (3). This matter of general education is primarily one for UNESCO rather than for FAO, and the thesis will not therefore be developed here, but the point is so important that it must be mentioned. One contributor (3) even suggests that in extreme cases special educational institutions ("Colleges of Development"), designed specifically to enable an underdeveloped country to carry the social services and educational system which it must have, may be necessary. This matter of general education is clearly one for close cooperation between UNESCO and FAO (21).

Improvements in agriculture must depend largely on the individual farmer's own efforts (4), and therefore no line of action should be initiated unless there are good prospects that it will be pursued with such constant determination by the country concerned that its effects reach the farmer. This applies to research projects as well as to those directly applicable in the field. Such determined pursuit is more likely to be achieved if the farmers themselves have been consulted as to what their problems are (1), if consideration is given to what they want as well as what it is thought they need (23), and if they themselves are actually associated with the development in such a way as to place the accent on popular initiative (4, 5). There is grave risk in prejudgment expressed in legislation and the setting-up of authorities (37). Stress is laid on the need to convince the people, on the danger and ineffectiveness of authoritarian instruction or advice which may be so interpreted, and on the need to divorce advisory from regulatory services (29). Compulsion, though sometimes justified to produce an immediate effect, will never produce sustained long-term progress (4). In the opinion of one writer, however, authoritative measures of guidance may be useful (2) in special cases. In most cases the success of the development staff with farmers will depend on continuity of service in an area, knowledge of the language and conditions, and mutual confidence (4, 5). In most underdeveloped countries it will be a long time before such personal contacts can be replaced by the press, the radio, and the film (5)

While the desires of the farmer will, at least in countries with a democratic form of government, tend to ensure the continuing interest and co-operation of the government, such interest and co-operation can only finally be assured if the activity concerned is really wanted by the government. It was doubtless for this reason, as well as to avoid diplomatic difficulties, that ECOSOC has insisted that technical assistance be rendered only in agreement with the governments concerned, on the basis of requests received from them, and that it be of a kind determined by them. A method which is not acceptable to the government concerned will be useless (6). Moreover, the less advanced the country and the narrower its economy the greater the need will be of governmental help in effecting improvement (32). It is, however, interesting to note that one country (13) likely to be a recipient of technical aid considers that projects can be adopted which may not initially appeal to the government and suggests that in such a case the foreign agency should provide enough funds to carry on the project until its value is recognized. This is not, of course, to say that guidance in choosing projects cannot be suitably offered to countries (7). (See also sections on "Methods" below.) For these reasons, methods should be selected in which the government itself can participate (8).

Programs and methods must be adjusted to the capabilities of the national staff that will have to carry them out (2). For this and other reasons they should, initially at least, aim at practical limited objectives (2, 9) suited to existing resources and to local conditions (9, 10). The fact must also be faced that further progress will continue to depend on the staff available from time to time and that foreign assistance is a temporary expedient. Development will never proceed far unless a country can, within a generation or two, provide from its own people all, or almost all, the experts it needs (7). It is equally improbable that foreign countries will be willing to give free assistance to underdeveloped countries for an indefinite period and that underdeveloped countries will accept indefinitely a situation in which key positions in their economies are occupied by foreigners. If, then, the aim of sustained efforts toward improvement is to be maintained, external assistance must ultimately be replaced by local resources. No number of foreign specialists or commissions can substitute for the training and education of national manpower (37). Acceptance of this proposition suggests (a) that from the beginning local experts and other personnel should be associated intimately with the external aid program and (b) that a large part of the external aid will consist in organizing the training of local personnel (5). Care must be taken, however, that training does not lead to the creation of a body of skilled unemployed (14).

Nevertheless, donor countries must understand that technical assistance is a long-term proposal involving long-term commitments (8, 12). There are very few miracles of change ready to be brought about by a wave of the hand (37). Due regard must be paid to the "conservatism" of farmers, which derives not so much from lack of receptivity or from obtuseness as from economic doubts arising from the narrow margin between profit and loss on which they work (11). It is clearly a corollary that aid should only be given where sustained local efforts are ensured and that aid should be continued at least for the minimum period during which it is actually needed by a government making such a sustained effort.

The main gap in the continuity of knowledge is between the local expert and producer, not between the experts of different countries (1, 9, 28). Though there are important gaps in knowledge, and the need for research is pressing, the prime need is for the local adaptation of existing knowledge, its communication to the farmer, and its adoption by him (5): it is here that the main difficulty lies (40). Success will therefore depend largely on the establishment of closely integrated research and extension services (16), and laboratory results must be followed by practical application (17).

Countries cannot in the long run enjoy a higher standard of living than their economy can support. For this reason it is essential that a large part of the initial effort be concentrated on activities which will increase the national income, i.e., on encouraging food and agricultural production and on the development of transport, power, and industry (7, 15). Both long-term and short-term objectives, however, must be pursued (13).

It must be made clear that the responsibilities of countries receiving aid are at least as great as those of the agency giving the aid, since that agency's success will depend on the amount of national help (13). The government departments concerned must be instructed to work closely with the visitors, and a local expert should be attached to every foreign agency, both to provide guidance and to take over the work later. The services of a few young local assistants can also advantageously be placed at the disposal of the foreign agency. The recipient country should also provide definite funds for the purchase of equipment, books, and other requisites for use in each project. It is of great importance that the relative financial and administrative responsibilities of the international agency and of the government (6) should be determined beforehand. Recipient countries also have a responsibility that schemes once started do not subsequently lapse (42).

Where there is an existing organization, experts should work on the basis of this organization and should not endeavor to set up a new one (13). Similarly, it will often be well to present a new idea as an improvement on an older method, not only because this is psychologically sound but also because such improvements may be better than an entirely new method (13, 23).

Finally, it must always be remembered that there is an essential difference between the functions of a sovereign government rendering aid to its own people and those of an international agency rendering aid to sovereign governments (5). The international agency cannot support an elaborate structure of technical institutions, training establishments, and arrangements for the supply of equipment, materials, and services on which the farmers' activities are based. The international agency's greatest power to help must therefore lie primarily in its knowledge of where to get help, rather than in the actual aid which it itself can give (5).

Methods in General

The methods discussed in this section are those whereby help of a technical kind can be given by an extra-national agency to a national government with the aim of assisting the country toward greater economic development.

Methods excluded are (a) those of supplying direct financial aid to economic development, though some of these for example, a wisely contrived program of foreign investment - may be of great importance to the actual achievement of progress (14); (b) methods of supplying direct aid, technical or financial, to private commercial firms or individuals within the country, though this also may be of great importance, since the absence of private agencies engaged in providing aids to production may be a great handicap to development (2); (e) methods of supplying aid, whether to governments or to individuals, by foreign nongovernmental agencies or by foreign commercial firms, which latter may be almost essential in certain cases, as in the construction of an important engineering project; and (d) methods of carrying out any particular project within a country or of internal organization of any particular service.

Before proceeding to an examination of specific methods it seems desirable to provide some sort of background for the choice which must in practice be made between the various methods available. In this connection an obvious question is: "Why is it that some countries are more advanced and more developed than others ?" In other words, why is an underdeveloped country underdeveloped (7) ? In some cases, no doubt, an answer is to be found in the relative "newness" of the country concerned or in an incongruous relationship between area and population. But this is not a complete answer, as is clear from the high degree of development achieved by some relatively new countries, by some very thinly populated countries, and by some very densely populated countries. Underdevelopment is usually due to inability to use the "resources of the world" (37), and, in what may be called the standard case, examination usually reveals a vicious circle: a country is poor because it is underdeveloped; because it is poor it cannot afford elaborate services; and because it cannot afford elaborate services it is underdeveloped (7). Doubtless there are other contributory causes, but this essential poverty, both of the government and of the classes on which economic development must depend, is usually dominant, and is of the greatest importance to the present discussion. Plans must he related to the resources which exist or can reasonably be expected to he forthcoming (5). Since nothing is more frustrating than to embark on a line of action only to find that it leads nowhere, either because it is not suited to local conditions or because it cannot survive external competition (7), it is essential that choice of method and project be based on a careful consideration of the existing economic make-up and potentialities of the country (7, 23, 37). In some cases the materials for such consideration may already exist, but, where this is not so, it seems essential that such a survey precede a decision on the method and content of external aid. The general working method will then be to aim at raising the existing economic level by bringing to fruit the special potentialities disclosed by the survey (7). There is an additional reason for such surveys: it is true that the initiative towards development must come from the country concerned, hut it is also true that many countries will need advice in selecting from the various services available, and that usually such advice must be based on a general economic survey (7). Furthermore, the pattern of assistance chosen must depend on an assessment of the extent to which a country can maintain and develop, from its own resources, the beginnings made with outside aid in harmony with and as a balanced factor in its general national economy.

In most countries much of the material for such n survey already exists. It is suggested that FAO's help may he required in the interpretation of such material, or, if no adequate material exists, in the collection of such material (42). A possible method is to send to each region a few workers of recognized standing, with experience in working with people less economically advanced than themselves, acquainted with conditions in underdeveloped countries, and with a knack of inspiring confidence, to speak of technical subjects and world problems in a way which the common man can understand. These men should be given time; and they should meet not only leaders and officials but ordinary people in their own homes and at their work (1). Another method suggested is to establish a "relatively permanent international commission to evaluate programs" (37) or at least a set of temporary regional commissions (41).

In selecting both the methods and the objects to which they are to be applied, due regard should he paid to the need for effective co-ordination of all resources and services (2, 23, 40) so that methods and objectives are so far as possible complementary to each other and to the existing methods and resources. For example, it may be very dangerous to develop modern methods of timber utilization in a country which lacks an efficient system of forest conservation and management (18), or advances in research may be virtually useless unless the means exist of transferring the newly acquired knowledge to the farmer. It is a matter of experience that successful development has often been due primarily to the establishment of closely integrated research and extension services (19). Due attention should he given to the need of co-operation between country and town (23). Programs must also he kept flexible and adaptable (23).

Technical assistance may be rendered either within a country or outside it, and either to individual countries or to groups of countries. Some methods naturally admit one only of these possibilities. In other cases there may be n choice of two or more possibilities. Where such a choice is necessary it should be made after a careful consideration of all the relevant facts in each case; but to assist such a choice the advantages and disadvantages of each course in so far as they appear from the documentation are given under each method described in the following subsection.

Methods may vary from merely supplying information or advice which a government may use for itself to active co-operation in applying technical knowledge and skill. The method selected will depend on the particular circumstances of each case, but emphasis should he placed on methods which will best secure lasting results; due regard must be paid to the ability to use the knowledge communicated, and concentration should be on those methods which involve to the greatest possible extant the principle of "learning by doing" (6). Some governments are willing to employ experts only as their own employees; but oven where this is not so, methods should he selected in which the government itself can participate (6).

Specific Methods

Regional and Group Agencies. In considering actual methods it is convenient first to consider the class of methods which involve the use of agencies dealing with more than one country. FAO and the other UN special agencies are of course examples of world-wide agencies of this kind but there are others of less extended scope. By their nature, these agencies are advisory rather than executive. They have the advantage that they emphasize the principle of mutual help and the disadvantage that they cannot have such close contact with national governments and peoples as agencies dealing with a single country. In the papers under analysis certain specific cases are given in which the planning of technical assistance on a regional rather than an individual basis is suggested. The first of these is research on rinderpest (13, 20). The second is research on the stem-boring insects (13). A more general idea is that of more or less permanent regional bodies for the exchange of technical information (21). Cognate in character are suggestions that there should be a close linking of FAO and WHO in the case of diseases which affect both man and animals, and that veterinarians should be associated with the work of the Regional Office of WHO in Southeast Asia (20). This kind of group agency seems suitable where its functions are specific and the subject with which it deals is a matter of urgency to all members of the agency In more general terms it is suggested that the closest co-operation will be necessary between countries with similar local conditions and between associations of professional workers in different countries (43).

Missions. The essence of a "mission" is the sending of foreign experts to a country or group of countries: there is no basic difference between sending one man or many. There may, however, be very considerable differences in the scope and functions of missions. Before the various forms of missions are examined, it seems desirable to discuss the general question of the use of foreign experts, which has evoked great interest in the documents under analysis.

In the first place there is obviously a strong feeling in some quarters that short visits by foreign experts without previous experience of the country or of similar countries "to show how the job should be done" have little value (3). It is even suggested that such visitors may be in the position of having to "unlearn everything" and to acquire experience which will be a lifework (3). This extreme view is not widely held, but it is not without substance. Throughout the replies to the Director-General's letter there is the strongest insistence on the importance of local experience and understanding, on the need for a sympathetic character in the visiting expert (1) and for sufficient time to permit the acquisition of knowledge and understanding where it does not exist, for close personal contact with the farmer (5), for knowledge of the local language (5, 12), traditions, and way of life, for familiarity with the administrative system (2, 12, 22), and so on. Experts may desire to suggest important changes, but without close local knowledge they will be unable to judge the success which will attend methods that have proved effective elsewhere (4), and, unless the advantages of changes are self-evident, the farmer will only be persuaded "by persons having a profound knowledge of his traditions and psychology, which cannot be rapidly acquired" (4). There are such important local differences in the system of "values" that preconceived notions will fail unless adjusted to personalities and to local social organization and processes (23) If precise local knowledge is not available, at least knowledge of "similar conditions" is thought essential (10, 12, 22). In particular, there is great difficulty in applying to tropical conditions knowledge relating to the temperate zones (12). One authority even suggests that an expert from another underdeveloped country may be more useful than one from an advanced country (21) Another writer demands a combination of experience both in underdeveloped and advanced countries (10). A rather different angle given to this matter of previous experience of experts is that attention should be given to their knowledge and training "in the field of world programs and international approaches to problems" (2). In spite of these difficulties, it is implicit in the papers that foreign experts will be necessary (33) for "inspiration, leadership, training and operations" (3), but that such assistance must be closely geared to the actual working life of the country and its governmental system (21). Whatever his experience, the expert must be sympathetic, understanding, very tolerant, and able to appreciate the merits of local practices, and must have the capacity to work under local conditions as well as technical knowledge related to local needs (12, 24). This indeed is laid down by ECOSOC, but is equally stressed in the documents under analysis. It is emphasized also that practical skill in an expert is as important as knowledge and that a worker among agriculturists needs a rural background (23); this applies even to such formal branches of study as Statistics (22) . Age and physical fitness are also important; the expert should neither be too young to have experience nor too old to have drive (13). He should be a person of stable moral and intellectual character (13).

Survey Missions. The need for preliminary surveys as a foundation for further technical aid has been mentioned. There are, however, other Surveys of conditions and resources which, at least from the point of view of the Technical Aid Program, may be regarded as ends in themselves, though of course in all cases no survey is of much practical value unless adequate arrangements are made to utilize its results (6). Survey missions investigate and frame findings on their investigations. They may also make recommendations, but to the extent that they do so, they tend to approximate to the next class of missions.

Advisory Missions. The purpose of an advisory mission is to advise the government on a specific subject or subjects. Their effectiveness depends on the extent to which the means exist or can be devised to implement the advice given; and purely advisory missions are therefore likely to be most effective in stable and well-developed countries. Their value also depends on the extent to which the need for advice is generally felt within the country (6). These missions may well be combined with or follow survey missions, and may also suitably be used in conjunction with the next class of missions (6).

Operational Missions. An operational mission is one which involves actual participation of foreigners in the execution of a national project. It is vital to the success of such missions that there be a clear previous agreement on the extent of this participation and on the precise functions of the mission. It is also very important that the mission confine its activities to the duties assigned to it and to the extent of participation agreed upon. The general principle that the greatest effect is produced by missions which are joint missions of the foreign agency and the national government (6, 12) applies with particular force to operational missions. The types of assistance mentioned in the following paragraphs are in effect special types of "missions." Operational missions have two alternative methods of working. They may make themselves more or less completely responsible for the execution of their task. This is the method usually adopted by commercial organizations (25) and by such specialized agencies as land survey departments (26). It is effective (25) where the work to be done is specific and specialized, and especially where no suitable technical agency of the kind exists. It may also be suitable for botanical, entomological, and other similar scientific investigations and for forest surveys. Missions may also start by doing all or most of the work themselves but, by including the training of local personnel in their programs, aim at the gradual elimination of the need for the foreign staff (25). This is the method usually adopted by the United States operational missions to. Latin-American countries and has obviously a much wider sphere of application than the foregoing. Missions engaged solely in training local experts (25) are a rather specialized e lass whose functions are discussed in the paragraphs below relating to training schemes.

Joint Agencies. This is a specialized form of long-term joint mission. The agency known as the servicio, which is the ordinary modus operandi of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs (a branch of the U.S. Department of State) in Latin-American countries, may be taken as typical of this class. These servicios are established within the ministry or department of the government concerned and are jointly staffed, jointly financed, and jointly directed (6). The director of the servicio has a joint function and responsibility to the foreign agency as its representative and to the national government as head of the agency. All work is undertaken and all appointments are made by agreement between the government and the foreign agency. These agencies have the advantage of stability and are intended to be permanent and integral parts of the national administration, gradually coming more and more under national control as the foreign staff is replaced by national staff, usually trained by or under the direction of the servicio.

Research and Experimental Stations and Laboratories. Such stations may be established with the assistance of foreign staff. They may clearly vary a great deal in organization and in their relations with the national administration. Their success, however, will usually depend on the degree of their integration with that administration and in particular on their relationship. with, and on the effectiveness of, the national advisory or extension services and their contact with the farmer. It is essential that laboratory results should be followed up by practical application (17). The specialized use of these institutions is to adapt foreign knowledge to local conditions, which is a first necessity to the introduction of new practices (11), but they may also be used as stable centers for information and training (6, 11) and may subsequently be completely absorbed in the national administration.

Individual Experts. While a "mission" may clearly sometimes be a single individual, there will be many occasions in which a foreign worker does not constitute a "mission". In some countries there has been a regular practice of employing foreign advisers in particular departments. The distinction between an adviser and a mission appears to be that between a private individual and the representative of an outside agency. Individual foreigners are also commonly employed in posts, particularly specialist posts, within the ordinary framework of the government. It seems that both types of appointment may come within the definition of "external assistance." The general considerations mentioned under "Missions" above apply also to the selection of individual foreign experts, though the emphasis may vary, because individual appointments within the framework of a government are usually made for a fairly extended period; it will probably take such a man at least a season to find his feet (28) and there is considerable risk that his work will be largely wasted if the assignment is ended just as it is becoming effective (13). The aim of such experts should be to identify themselves as closely as possible with the country they are serving and to arouse and maintain interest in their subjects, not only among their fellow workers but among the leaders and people of the country. On his success in doing this, much more than on the actual potentialities for development of the country, the success of the individual will depend (13). To get good men for these appointments, employment must be made attractive, and it is necessary to combat the feeling found among some technicians that to go to an undeveloped country may involve considerable professional sacrifice. It is important to emphasize that there are advantages on both sides, and that a technician will almost certainly increase his own knowledge, as well as his experience by working in a new environment (13). On the other hand, unless special arrangements are made, it is difficult for such a worker to keep in touch with new developments in his science or profession (2, 25).

Demonstrations would seem, prima facie, to be a detailed method beyond the scope of this analysis. As, however, the method is constantly referred to, and as the utility of the method of giving external aid is perhaps the matter on which there is the greatest outward divergence of opinion, it seems desirable to include it. One authority refers to "demonstration stations" as "the backbone" of its foreign collaboration programs (6). Another authority considers that demonstration farms have proved costly, time-consuming, and of little practical value (2), and another that "farmers visit and admire but in most cases do not imitate" (5). Perhaps this divergence is reconciled by the remark of yet another authority that "demonstration is the best single medium for influencing the farmer, but the best demonstration is one done by another farmer" (11). This last sentiment is repeated elsewhere (5, 17, 27) and will probably be generally recognized as one of the fundamental truths of agricultural education, since "only where the advantage has been demonstrated beyond doubt will the farmers carry on the work" (27). The difficulty is to find a means of carrying the new idea from the central station to the first individual farmer (29). One method suggested is the simple one of selecting "contact men" on whose land demonstrations can be conducted (29), from which the idea spreads naturally or with the encouragement of such institutions as farmers' meetings (29). Other alternatives suggested are the planned village or group improvement (5, 27), the rural center (23), and reproducing, as far as possible the conditions of the local farm on the experimental farm. In using such methods, however, attention must not be deflected from the need to improve the whole community (23), and care must be taken that these local centers do not become mere sterile islands. The conclusion is perhaps that pure "demonstration on government farms" should be regarded as a secondary aspect of experimental or training work (28). One authority mentions the important part which a class of agriculturists in a country with a higher grade of education and technique than is normal with the indigenous farmer can play in demonstrations (5).

International Education. As has been stated, the prime necessity is to lessen the chasm between knowledge and practice; clearly the only way to do this is by "education" in the wide sense (5). Even more obviously, the way to close the gaps between world knowledge and the knowledge of local experts is by education. Education in the wide sense is in fact the only means of bringing about lasting changes (36). Almost all the methods described in these papers are in fact "educational," but the present paragraph deals specifically with education in the sense of direct and recognized instruction. Reference has been made many times to the need for increasing the farmer's knowledge and to the desirability, to this end, of close contact between expert and farmer. It must be admitted, however, that the possibility of attaining these aims directly by foreign aid is strictly limited. It is therefore essential to train local experts who can teach the farmer. Trained national staff is also necessary, not only to supplement and ultimately to eliminate the foreign staff which may be employed on research extension and other activities, but also to provide those humbler but not less essential workers, the field-man, the vaccinator, the mechanic, the surveyor, and so on, without whom no agricultural service can be operated. The training of these workers raises special problems, and it should be noted that special educational classes for them need not always be ostensibly applied to agricultural improvement (11). One of the most important directions which can be given to education, moreover, is the widening of the mind and field of national experts, political leaders, and administrative officials (2), since it is on the supporting organization directed and sponsored by them that development depends (35). The following paragraphs deal, therefore with the main methods of imparting technical education on an international basis. Broadly, such education falls into two types: instruction by foreign experts within the recipient country and instruction of nationals of the recipient country in foreign countries. Both methods have their disadvantages. The obvious disadvantages of education in the recipient's home country by foreigners derive from the general difficulties arising in the employment of foreign experts. the special difficulties in the way of education in foreign countries are very similar but present certain special features which will be discussed. Besides certain obvious difficulties such as language and social habits, there is the peculiar and most important difficulty which is common to all attempts at international agricultural education - the essential "localness" of agricultural conditions and practice (40). This peculiarity of agriculture demands a much greater degree of familiarity with the local conditions under which the new knowledge is to be applied than is required for most subjects on the part both of the foreign teacher in a recipient country and of the pupil in a foreign country. The differences of opinion which arise as to the relative value of the two methods derive mainly from this fact.

Combination of Training with Other Activities. Training may, of course, be a separate activity, but frequently it is not only possible but desirable to combine it with other activities; indeed it will frequently be an essential complement to the work of foreign technical missions (6). Such combinations give the necessary flexibility to the system of training and give scope to the important method of "learning by doing," not only for pupil but for teacher also. The method also lessens costs (6).

"In-service" Training. This term is used to describe those methods of training which involve the principle of "learning while you work" (6). During this course the pupil is actually engaged in the day-to-day work of some service or agency. It is essentially a form of "apprentice training" (3), but it can be applied not only to beginners, but also, and perhaps even more effectively, to pupils whose knowledge is already too considerable for them to be called apprentices. The method may be applied either in the ordinary working departments of a foreign country or in the home country in connection with operational missions, servicios, research stations, and the like. It has the great advantage of imparting quickly a high degree of practical knowledge (6).

Expansion in Formal Educational Institutions. Such expansion may take the form either of new institutions staffed largely by foreign experts, at which instruction in specific economic subjects is provided, or of specialized courses by foreign instructors within the curriculum of existing institutions. In all such innovations it should be borne in mind that the improvement of teaching facilities for technical purposes should not be allowed to overbalance the facilities provided in the humanities, in the pure sciences, or in sociological subjects (6). A variation of such schemes may be found in arrangements for the exchange of instructors between two or more countries, and the possibilities of permanent arrangements of this kind between two educational institutions are worth close examination. In higher education, though the courses provided must he based on national exchange of instructors, they should be directed to the long-range social and economic development of a country rather than to the short-term achievement of tangible results (6). There may be, however, at lower levels, good opportunities for training lower-grade workers in the minimum essential techniques required ad hoe for a particular service or project (3). Such training may involve "rule-of-thumb" methods and a different type of instructor from more standard teaching.

Training Students in Foreign Educational Institutions. the training abroad of students from underdeveloped countries is one of the most obvious methods of imparting instruction, and, especially in the more academic studies, a very promising one. The method has the great merit of avoiding disturbance of the current work of experts and of utilizing an existing organization. Such schemes normally involve financial assistance in the form of fellowships, scholarships, bursaries, and grants. The method does, however, involve certain risks. In the first place, there is a very real danger that students may on their return find themselves unemployed, unless pretty definite arrangements have previously been made (25, 28). In the second place, especially after long courses, the students may not desire to return to their home countries or may do so with a feeling of dissatisfaction which will impair their usefulness. In the case of practical agricultural instruction there is also the grave difficulty of the great local variations in agricultural conditions which may render the specialized knowledge acquired more or less useless without adaptations which will demand greater experience than a young student is likely to possess. This form of instruction is therefore most likely to be valuable where the student is already a person with an established position in the agricultural services of his own country (25, 28, 33) and of sufficiently mature experience to enable him to adjust his new knowledge to the conditions of his own country (28, 33), or where young men of rural background can pursue studies in practical agriculture (28). There is also much to be said for locating such studies in a country where agricultural and economic conditions are generally similar (28). Instruction given in a less advanced country of similar experience may often be more useful than that in a very advanced country of different experience.

Visits by Foreign Observers. The educative possibilities of visits, both formal and informal, by foreign observers are considerable (1, 5, 6, 7, 30). Among professional men these visits provide both a met hod of acquiring an insight into foreign approaches to and achievements in their own subjects and an opportunity for developing professional contacts of permanent value and an increased mutual understanding (6). These visits may also be used advantageously by political and administrative heads of recipient countries to increase their knowledge and understanding of the possibilities and difficulties of the development of their own country's resources and of the technical methods which can be applied to this end (12). It is, in short, a useful method wherever from shortage of time or other causes formal or lengthy courses are unsuitable (6).

"Productivity Teams." This term is applied to the system whereby groups of workers from one country go to study the productive methods of another (6, 12). For maximum effect it is probably desirable that the studies be mutual. The method has been employed in the case of industrial workers in connection with ECA, but there seems no reason why it should not be valuable in agriculture and fisheries also. It is, in fact, one of the few methods of external assistance which allows direct contact between the farmers of two countries. Such visits may be combined with visits by local technicians (4). Such combined visits go some way towards eliminating language difficulties and have the further advantages that the farmers' attitudes and opinions are practical and will stimulate the interest of farmers in the country visited (4).

Exchange of Technical Information (2, 6, 12, 31, 32). One of the greatest disabilities under which the small bands of experts in the less developed countries suffer is their relative isolation from contact with the work of their fellow workers elsewhere (31). The preceding paragraphs have dealt with methods of achieving personal contacts, but the importance of these should not be allowed to obscure the possibilities of material means of conveying information, and in particular of the written word (39). These material methods of conveying information have usually the advantage of relative cheapness, but they also have other advantages. They are available for instance to busy men and to "key men" who cannot conveniently absent themselves from their work. Perhaps most important is the foundation and maintenance of technical libraries (6) in the underdeveloped countries and the second in importance the regular publication of scientific data and reports (including abstracting services). Personal correspondence can also achieve the exchange of much valuable information (6). One of the advantages of exchanges of personnel and of conducted visits is that they may lead to such correspondence, and it seems that putting suitable correspondents in touch with each other might be a suitable function of FAO whose duties in the dissemination of information are made clear in the Constitution. There is also room for much work in translation, on an international basis. It is important that publications issued by international organizations reach individuals and not merely a few government offices and that in preparing such publications, care should be taken to deal, in a human way, Wit h the problems of the less advanced countries special pains should be taken to give credit where credit is due to the national and individual achievements of those countries (1). A point of great importance in connection with the international dissemination of technical information is the establishment of uniform standards of scientific definition, classification, and measurement (2). The conveyance of international information direct to the farmer is more difficult. All written matter, and indeed all advice to farmers, should be couched in language which they can understand (2, 29). Full but informed use should clearly be made of all available methods of publicity, including such devices as fairs and shows (2, 3, 29) but the immediate possibilities of standard methods of publicity are limited (11, 29).

Equipment and Supplies. There is considerable divergence of opinion as to how far the provision of technical equipment is a proper object for the funds of the Technical Assistance Program. It is rightly held that the provision of technical equipment and training in its use and maintenance should he part of the general program of agricultural development (6). In at least one country which may be a recipient of aid there is a strong feeling that the lack of such equipment is one of the main obstacles to progress (18, 20, 24, 29, 30, 33) and that the program should take this fact into account and also the need for extended trials of new equipment, which may even preclude the use of foreign experts (33). There is also a feeling that outside assistance is most useful when supplemented by material aid (34). On the other hand, during the ECOSOC discussions a strong feeling manifested itself that the provision of material resources was one primarily for the national government concerned. It seems probable that this difference of individual cases rather than with reference to a general principle. The useful point is made, however, that it is a mistake to give material aid to farmers without cost until they have been taught the value of such gifts (11).

Conferences. International conferences provide means of keeping in touch with new developments, of establishing professional contacts, of laying the foundations of technical cooperation, and of establishing better mutual understanding of personalities, aims and needs (6). A special type of conference which has obvious merits is the study group or working party. All international meetings should be regarded as a step to practical action (6). Such contacts as these meetings supply should be regular and should include the younger officers of national services, with the idea of enabling them to widen their experience and friendships (4). Professional meetings in particular make possible the pooling of national experience in such matters as quality (inspection and regulation) of seed and other materials, farm operations by contract, and in the procedure of such regulatory arrangements as the licensing of breeding stock (4).

Permanent Contacts through Diplomatic Missions. Agricultural attachés and other technical members of foreign missions may provide a valuable means of conveying information, both in the sense of receiving and imparting knowledge (6).

Migration In the last resort migration may be an inevitable part of agricultural improvement. International (bilateral and multilateral) assistance in facilitating the movement and care of migrants may be an important part of international aid (35).

Other Considerations

In concluding this analysis it seems suitable to mention a few points made in the documentation which do not fall readily into place in the foregoing sections and to endeavor to indicate the general trend of the many opinions expressed.

There are several indications that the Technical Aid Program is not regarded as a panacea for the defects in world agriculture. It is suggested, for example, that in some underdeveloped regions the mere improvement of the existing peasant agriculture is inadequate and that the "cost in propaganda and stimulation of social change to make peasant farming capable of appreciably increasing world food supplies is too vast to consider" (3) (presumably in relation to Technical Aid). It is stated that new areas must be developed and that the available land lies mainly in primitive areas (3). The suggestion plainly is that there are cases in which new development may involve new methods and a clear break with local tradition.

It is suggested that FAO has a great part to play as an organizer of training and of conducted tours by farmers, technicians, and others in countries where problems to be studied have been solved or are well on their way to solution (1).

The need is stressed for increased international co operation in several directions, for example, the control and use of water (36), capital investment (36), a warning service on plant pests (27), and the performance of certain "strategic" tasks of research and education (12, 21, 37). The need for close co-operation and coordination of effort between FAO and the other specialized organizations was especially stressed during the ECOSOC discussions. Such co-ordination is particularly advisable in subjects of general interest to more than one international agency, for example the development of rural industries and the provision of economic and statistical services (17).

It is pointed out that there are many background conditions only partly or indirectly connected with the technical processes of agriculture or even with the formal functions of FAO which, if neglected, will prevent or hinder the results hoped for from the Technical Assistance Program. In this class fall such subjects as density of population (37), health and nutrition (37), the condition and distribution of agricultural labor (35), unsuitable systems of land tenure and taxation (2, 37), lack of suitable public services (37), peculiarities of community organization (37), absence of group consciousness, internal conflicts (38), natural conditions unfavorable to agriculture (38), and financial difficulties.

Several replies mention the desirability of providing direct incentives to farmers to adopt improved practices (2), such as grants to good farmers (5), especially in connection with conservation projects. This is of course a matter for national governments.

It is suggested that member governments must take an active part in the work and should co-operate closely with FAO (40, 41), and that there will be need for close coordination to avoid duplication of work and overlapping (40). In particular it is pointed out that no general inventory of national resources available for the program has yet been made (40).


As mentioned at the beginning of this paper, study of the documents on which it is founded discloses a remarkable unanimity as to the fundamental principles which must underlie any scheme of international technical assistance, as to the methods available, and as to the effectiveness of these methods. The basic principle which must underlie all efforts to render aid to people less technologically advanced than those who proffer help is that there must be sympathetic understanding of those who are to be helped. If quick results are required, this sympathy and understanding must usually be brought in with the technical knowledge; if it is not brought in, it must be subsequently acquired before effective aid can be given. As for the other basic principles, most of them are well summarized in the following quotation from one of the documents submitted, a book giving an account of the work of a foreign agency in giving assistance to an underdeveloped European country (44). The quotation is from the foreword of Come Over into Macedonia, written by H. B. Allen, one of the chief officers of the Near East Foundation.

"Procedures of significance for the rehabilitation of sorely distressed rural populations were tested and established to the degree that they stand out as guiding principles or directives for similar work in other lands. There is the primary principle of self-help, of assisting the people to help themselves in advancing their status. However slow and faltering this procedure may be in its initial stages, it makes for sure progress and gains acceleration with every advance. There is the principle of sharing, of participation of the person or the group served in the planning and the support as well as in the operation of the program. If the dominating aim is to develop indigenous activities, rooted in the purposes and aspirations of the people, they must feel that the undertakings are of their own doing. There is the sound concept, all too frequently overlooked, that one of the best ways of studying a difficult and needy situation is to do something about it - to begin with the obvious and gain understanding and insight as experience and familiarity increase and the deeper problems become revealed. There is the elemental necessity of utilizing the knowledge that is available and finding the means of closing the gap between knowledge and common practice - to make that which is known operative in the daily occupations and experience of the people. There is the realistic recognition that progress for a disadvantaged people usually comes slowly, often almost imperceptibly, and that it is the sum of modest and continuing gains, a little here and a little there... No less important is it for a foreign agency which seeks to affect fundamental national concerns, such as the welfare of the people in their means of livelihood, their health, education and home and family life, to gain the cooperation of the established government and of the responsible agencies and institutions of the people in the land to which they go."

The fact, here expressed in the form that the main gap is usually between expert knowledge as such and the farmer's knowledge and not between the knowledge of the foreign expert and that of the local expert, with its corollary that the most compelling need is for the transmission of the existing local knowledge to the working agriculturist, is fundamental to all schemes for agricultural improvement. So are the facts that progress must begin and proceed by the satisfaction of realized needs, and that the farmer's own capacity is limited to realize a need and to evaluate proposed means to satisfy it. These three facts explain the emphasis on the improvement in the general and technical education of the farmer, and in particular on advisory or extension services, which is so pronounced in the documentation, and the great importance given to the training of local extension workers and of persons who can train them. Cognate with the above is the need to correlate research and higher agricultural education with the practical needs of the farmer and the programs of the advisory services.

It is important also to realize that agriculture is intensely localized. The results of external scientific research and of foreign experience can usually only be utilized after close local experimentation and adaptation. To quote again a phrase used in the documents under study, "there are very few miracles of change ready for bringing about by a wave of the hand." The implications of this on the generally expressed and justifiable desire for quick practical results must not be overlooked. Speed is essentially relative and the speed of agricultural change can seldom be very great. When we speak of quick results, and especially of quick results in production, we must think not of results achieved in a season or so, but at the best of results achieved after several years - and often of results which will need a generation to become manifest. Even this degree of speed will only be attained to the extent that the community is organized for the reception of the new ideas, that is to say to the degree that the new ideas are or can be made self-evident to the community. "Quick" progress will therefore depend on the careful and informed selection of objectives suited to the circumstances of each individual country.

The available methods of giving technical aid are limited in number and for the most part clearly defined. None is easy to apply and in most there is an uneasy balance between advantages and disadvantages. The tilting of the balance will depend on the situation found and the objectives selected in each case. Most countries will thus need assistance both in selecting methods of reaching a particular objective and in selecting objectives which will lend themselves to particular methods. The provision and organization of such assistance must necessarily be a primary function of FAO.

Strong and sustained interest in the scheme, not only among member governments, whether donors or recipients, but also among the peoples of member countries, will be fundamental to success, and, except in a few extreme cases, there can be no clear division between potential donors and potential recipients: the degrees of agricultural advancement form a continuous series.

Finally, the study discloses both the need for and the possibility of close co-operation and co-ordination of effort at all levels and in all human activities. There must be coordination among agricultural, industrial, humanitarian, and cultural interests, co-operation among the various international agencies, among participating governments, among learned institutions, and among individuals. In this connection the suggested types of joint activity by governments within a region and by universities and professional institutions must be regarded as examples of a principle the application of which may be pregnant with great possibilities.

All these things clearly involve close thought, patience, hard work, a spirit of cheerful giving and of willing receiving. On recognition of this fact success will depend.


Unless otherwise implied in the context, these references are to formal replies by member governments of FAO to the Director-General's letter G/50, or, where names of persons or of nongovernmental organizations appear, of replies by such persons and organizations to letters written them on the suggestion of member governments.

(1) United Kingdom: A. J. Wakefield, British Overseas Food Corporation (personal reply)

(2) United States of America: A. C. Bunce, U. S. Economic Cooperation Administrator (Korea)

(5) United Kingdom: British Overseas Food Corporation (official reply)

(4) United Kingdom: Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries

(5) United Kingdom: Colonial Office

(6) United States of America: Department of State

(7) Speech by U.K. Representative during ECOSOC debate

(8) Speech by Danish Representative during ECOSOC debate

(9) Speech by U. S. Representative during ECOSOC debate

(10) India: T. G. Shirmane, Agricultural Marketing Adviser

(11) United States of America: Lyle J. Hayden, U. S. Economic Co-operation Administration

(12) United States of America: Department of Agriculture

(13) China: K. S. Sie

(14) Speech by Indian Representative during ECOSOC debate

(15) United States of America: FAO Inter-Agency Committee, Department of Agriculture

(16) New Zealand: Ministry of Eternal Affairs

(17) United States of America: Tennessee Valley Authority

(18) India: C. R. Ranganathan, President, Forest Research Institute and College, Dehra Run

(19) Speech by the New Zealand Representative during ECOSOC debate

(20) India: S. Datta, Director, Veterinary Research Institute

(21) Speech by the Chilean Representative during ECOSOC debate

(22) Inter-American Institute of Agriculture and Science, Turrialba, Costa Rica (D. Spencer Hatch)

(23) India: W. R. Natu, Economic and Statistical Adviser

(24) India: V. N. Patwardham, Director, Nutrition Research Laboratories, Conoor

(25) Inter-American Institute of Agriculture and Science, Turrialba, Costa Rica (A. O. Rhoad)

(26) United States of America: Geological Survey, Department of the Interior

(27) India: II. S. Pruthi, Plant Protection Adviser

(28) United States of America: R. H. Dorr, U. S. Economic Cooperation Administrator (Turkey)

(29) Indonesia: J. G. van der Ploeg, Agricultural Economics Division

(30) India: M. D. Chaturvedi, Inspector General of Forests

(31) India: P. N. Nanda, Animal Husbandry Commissioner

(32) Liberia: Ministry of Agriculture

(33) India: Baini Prashad, Fisheries Research Adviser

(34) Chile: Director-General of Agriculture

(35) Speech by the Representative of the International Labour Organisation during ECOSOC debate

(36) United States of America: R. E. Buchanan, Iowa State College of Agriculture and the Mechanical Arts

(37) Inter-American Institute of Agriculture and Science, Turrialba, Costa Rica: R. H. Allee, Director

(38) United States of America: Central Council of the Mennonite Church

(39) United States of America: Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior

(40) Speech by the French Representative during ECOSOC debate

(41) Report of the Latin American Regional Conference on Food and Agriculture, Quito, 1949

(42) Report of the FAO Near East Pre-Conference Regional Meeting, Beirut, 1949

(43) Organization for European Economic Co-operation

(44) United States of America: A. H. Mann, Near East Foundation

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