X. Report of Commission a to the Conference

A. Agriculture
B. Nutrition
C. Forestry and forest products
D. Fisheries
E. Economics and statistics
F. FAO missions

IN ACCORDANCE with the instructions of the Conference, Commission A undertook consideration of the technical work of FAO in all aspects of the production, distribution, and consumption of agricultural, forestry, and fisheries products, and of the well-being of rural people. It considered the Conference reports of the Director-General on the year's work, of the Executive Committee [see Appendix], of the several Standing Advisory Committees and of the FAO Mission for Greece. In addition, the Committees of Commission A had the benefit of a number of statements submitted by delegations and observers. Since these statements include useful suggestions bearing upon the details of future work, they are also being transmitted informally to the Director-General.

Six Committees were established to expedite the work of Commission A, namely:
I. Agriculture Dr. P. J. du Toit
(South Africa)
II. Nutrition Dr. F. de P. Miranda
III. Forestry Mr. L. F. Watts
(U. S. A. )
IV. Fisheries Mr. B. S. Dinesen
V. Economics and Dr. .R. K. Mukerjee
Statistics (India)
VI. FAO Missions Dr. Ernst Feisst

All the Committees completed their work expeditiously. Their reports have received the approval of Commission A and are included, with minor modifications, as a section of this Report.

The comprehensiveness and excellence of the Standing Advisory Committees' reports greatly facilitated the deliberations of the several Committees, who indeed found it unnecessary to discuss in detail a number of the technical and scientific subjects treated therein. Thus, it was possible to concentrate attention upon ways and means of implementing the work of FAO and the actions of member governments toward the attainment of their common goals. Since the reports of the Standing Advisory Committees are not embodied in the Report of Commission A, it is recommended that they be published as a separate document.

In reviewing the work of FAO during the past ten months, all Committees were in agreement that a good start has been made. At the same time they emphasized that the tasks confronting FAO during the coming year will require a much enlarged staff of professional personnel. It is hoped, therefore, that the Director-General will be able to make a substantial number of staff appointments at an early date, especially to those divisions which are not yet organized.

With reference to the submission of periodic reports of member governments to FAO, [see Appendix], the Commission, while recognizing that elaborate reports could not have been expected during the first year, nevertheless desires to emphasize the importance of periodical reports both to the individual nations and to FAO. Accordingly, it strongly urges each government to make preparations now whereby the reports required next year can be sufficiently comprehensive to reveal the special problems and conditions that exist in each country. It urges furthermore that FAO advise the member governments at an early date as to the specific types of information desired in these reports.

Since two-thirds of the world's population may be classed as rural, and since they are in a position of relative disadvantage, the Commission believes it essential that FAO undertake a vigorous program in the field of rural welfare, and that the betterment of rural people be placed in the foreground of all its activities. Other matters of general interest include the promotion of facilities for the exchange of scientific and technical information; the rectification of library deficiencies in war-torn countries; the improvement and extension of world-wide statistics in the field of food and agriculture; the provision of technically trained personnel and other services to underdeveloped countries; and the problems that will arise when UNRRA activities are terminated. The Commission urges that those governments that have not already done so establish National FAO Committees so constituted that they can represent adequately all aspects of the FAO program and can assume a positive role of leadership in their respective countries.

In conclusion, Commission A wishes to remind all member governments of the individual and collective responsibilities they assumed in accepting the Constitution of FAO. If the nations are to promote the common welfare by raising the levels of nutrition and the standards of living of their people, by introducing improvements in the efficiency of their production and in the distribution of food and agricultural products, and by otherwise bettering the conditions of their rural populations, they must be prepared to take vigorous action on a broad front. It is the role of FAO to assist governments in attain- these ends.

A. Agriculture

The task of the Committee on Agriculture was greatly facilitated by the excellent report of the Joint Standing Advisory Committee on Agricultural Production and Science. The Committee fully endorses this report and unanimously adopts its recommendations. Certain suggestions offered by several delegates will be referred to the Director-General.

The report of the Joint Standing Advisory Committee on Agriculture not only recognizes the immense strides that science and technology have made toward new levels of well-being for mankind, but in addition recognizes the practical difficulties that will be encountered in putting this knowledge to full use. The Committee is particularly impressed with the improvements in production that can be expected in many underdeveloped countries by the adoption of simple and relatively obvious measures. In other countries the problem is one of helping the farmers and peasants to obtain the materials and equipment necessary to apply the technical knowledge they already possess. The task ahead for member governments and for FAO is one of recognizing needs, arousing interest, and taking vigorous action. The means to be employed include the promotion of research, the dissemination of knowledge, and the exchange of services and technicians. It will be for FAO to assist the member governments in all such measures and to act as the international center for the furtherance of national and international action.

While some of the activities envisaged by the Standing Advisory Committees are large and ambitious undertakings, they are all of such fundamental importance that the member governments and FAO should initiate immediately as many of them as resources will permit. With this in mind the Committee considered the present status of agricultural rehabilitation in wardevastated countries and the problems ahead in making the transition from relief and emergency programs to those of a more permanent character. Its recommendations for improving and geographically extending the various services born out of the war and for fitting them into the food and agriculture program of the United Nations are outlined below.


1. Fertilizer Program

One of the inheritances of the war is the deficient supply of chemical fertilizers as compared with the current and probable future demand. The many factors contributing to this condition are cited in an FAO memorandum entitled "World Fertilizer Production and Consumption and Targets for the Future." Among the principal factors accounting for the great demand for fertilizers are the necessity for replenishing soil fertility in many countries; the desire of farmers in other countries to maintain the high productivity attained during the war period, especially at this time of favorable prices for farm produce; and the attempt on the part of all nations to increase their crop production.

The Committee therefore strongly endorses the Joint Standing Advisory Committee's recommendation to the effect:

(1) That the International-Emergency Food Council continue the allocation of fertilizers during the emergency period.

(2) That the production of fertilizers throughout the world be maintained at maximum levels.

(3) That FAO approach the Canadian Government with the request that its national plants be maintained at maximum production during the world shortage of fertilizer nitrogen.

(4) That FAO approach the Government of the United States of America with the request that the production of nitrogen fertilizer materials be raised to a maximum in government controlled national plants as long as the world shortage persists.

(5) That FAO approach the appropriate authorities concerned with the administration of Germany and Japan with a request that in these countries all nitrogen plants that can readily be put into production be put into operation for as long as the world shortage of nitrogen exists.

The Committee also suggests that, whenever possible, the appropriate authorities should make arrangements to facilitate the purchase of fertilizer by countries which have little or no fertilizer production and which do not have adequate credits.

The Committee further endorses another recommendation of the Joint Standing Advisory Committee to the effect that FAO take steps toward the elimination of the fallacy that crops grown with a rational use of chemical fertilizers may be harmful to human beings, livestock, or soils. Such action is particularly important at this time when every effort should be directed to increasing crop production.

2. Loss of Food through Infestation

Reports by FAO and by the Emergency Economic Committee for Europe indicate that from 3 to 12 percent of the foods produced in the world as a whole are destroyed by insects, mites, rodents, bacteria, and mold fungi. This is equivalent to nearly one-half the foodstuffs entering into world trade. Recognizing the gravity of this problem, the Committee urges that the work of infestation control at present being carried on by EECE in Europe be continued and furthermore that similar measures be initiated in other regions.

It therefore recommends that FAO, in conjunction with governments and other organizations:

(1) Institute a world-wide survey to establish the main areas from which infestation springs, the channels through which it is carried from one country or area of the world to another, and the successful control measures currently being adopted.

(2) Develop the necessary organization for disseminating information revealed by the initial survey and for keeping the information under constant review.

(3) Develop, according to location and class of commodity, the proper standards for safe and efficient storage.

(4) Frame, in due course, a compact and enforceable International Convention of Infestation Control and take steps to ensure, through the governments, that it is fully observed in practice and that organizations appropriate to the needs of the particular countries are developed.

(5) Establish immediate means for reducing infestation in international carriers, particularly merchant ships engaged in international trade, to prevent transmission of infestation to cargoes shipped "clean" and, through such cargoes, to the importing countries. (This is not so much a question of finding methods of disinfesting carriers as of ensuring that they are disinfested.)

(6) Consider, as an urgent matter, the question of transmission by aircraft of infestation likely to cause loss of or disease in commodities, crops, and livestock, and settle upon preventive rules and the appropriate organization to carry them out.

(7) Pending consideration of the general framework, agree that the European Infestation Control Working Party should continue to be responsible for promoting action in Europe and should deal within its region with the urgent question of transmission of infestation by aircraft.

(8) Encourage the formation of other regional groups with provision that representatives from the several regional bodies should meet and confer from time to time with a view to ensuring maximum cooperation and coordination.

(9) Urge that the periodic reports to be submitted by governments contain full information on the steps taken, the progress achieved, and the further measures contemplated for carrying out these recommendations.

3. Improved Seeds

The Committee endorses the recommendation of the Standing Advisory Committee that FAO should take steps to ascertain what standards of seed certification prevail in the various countries with a view to making this information readily available. It suggests further that FAO take the necessary steps to bring about an international agreement on the standards of seed certification, including those for seed potatoes; and also that FAO consider ways and means of reaching international agreements on breeders' copyrights.

4. Transition Phases of UNRRA Agricultural Rehabilitation

The Committee recognizes that the pending demise of UNRRA will create a serious gap in the agricultural rehabilitation programs of a number of the more badly devastated countries. The seriousness of this matter was explained by the Director of the Agricultural Rehabilitation Division of UNRRA. The UNRRA agricultural program has two major aspects, namely, the supplying of all agricultural equipment, materials, and other items needed to restore production, and the furnishing of organizational and technical assistance as requested by the several countries. The current staff, which comprises about 200 technicians, will be reduced to 100 by 1 December 1946. The technical field staff of UNRRA now comprises 81 technicians at an annual cost of about $400,000. With references to supplies furnished, UNRRA has made available $373,000,000 for this purpose. Of this total $74,000,000 was expended for farm machinery; $64,000,000 for seed; $54,000,000 for livestock, including the purchase of 250,000 head of horses and mules; $49,000,000 for fertilizers; $44,000,000 for fishing craft and gear; $16,000,000 for veterinary supplies and pesticides; $14,000,000 for food processing and storage; $14,000,000 for flood control and irrigation; $19,000,000 for repair equipment and repair shops; $25,000,000 for bags, harnesses, and other miscellaneous items. The Director added that a further expenditure of at least an equal amount would be required in the UNRRA countries to restore prewar production and that at least ten years would be required to rebuild dairy herds to their prewar level.

The Committee, while recognizing the importance of the continuance of agricultural rehabilitation work in these countries, recognizes also the grave difficulties inherent in the position. FAO does not have a budget or staff comparable to that of UNRRA. Further, the whole of the $373,000,000 spent for agricultural equipment and material by the Agricultural Rehabilitation Division of UNRRA has been expended for a limited number of countries. FAO, on the other hand, must make its services available to all its member nations, many of whom are in as great a need for technical assistance as the countries aided by UNRRA. The Committee suggests that the agricultural rehabilitation work of UNRRA insofar as the technical assistance programs now in operation are concerned, might be continued by FAO, providing that an agreement can be reached whereby funds and technical staff are made available by UNRRA to FAO for the maintenance of these programs. In this connection, however, the Committee drew attention to the fact that the Agriculture Division of FAO is not yet staffed and that this Division must recruit its personnel and formulate its program with a view to the long-term objectives of FAO. The assumption of an UNRRA staff and programs, even though on a temporary basis, must not be allowed to interfere with this essential purpose. The alternative of transferring UNRRA activities to a special emergency agency, such as might be created for the purpose by the United Nations, should therefore receive careful consideration.

With reference to the possible transfer of UNRRA staff and funds to FAO, the Committee was informed that such UNRRA funds for agricultural rehabilitation work would be exhausted by 1 July 1947. The Committee took it for granted that so far as FAO's own funds were concerned, the Organization would give no preferential treatment to any country or group of countries.

5. Collaboration with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

One of the principal problems in both the war-devastated and the less developed countries is the financing of supplies and equipment necessary for agricultural rehabilitation and the development and improvement of farming methods. The Committee believes that FAO can provide valuable services to both member governments and the International Bank in assisting the member governments in the analysis of the difficulties facing them in their programs of agricultural improvements, in advising the member governments on the purchase of equipment and supplies, and in making available supervisory personnel, when requested, for programs designed to carry out the terms of an International Bank loan.

6. Cooperatives

In many areas of the world no adequate facilities exist for the production, handling, and procurement of farm supplies and equipment. Better facilities of this nature seem essential for the orderly development of agricultural production and the improvement of the economic status of farmers. It may be essential for producers to develop their own facilities, including retail, wholesale, and even manufacturing agencies.

The Committee recommends that FAO give early consideration to ways and means for helping to accomplish these ends, including:

(1) Encouragement of the formation of efficient producer cooperatives to assist in the production and distribution of supplies and equipment.

(2) Encouragement of the formation of appropriate agencies to provide credit for farm production and for the manufacture and distribution of farm supplies and equipment.

7. Rural Welfare

The Committee realizes that, throughout the greater part of the world, the rural populations are in a position of serious disadvantage compared with that of industrial workers. It emphasizes that the vast majority of farmers and peasants and their families not only lack the comforts and the facilities for educational and cultural pursuits that are enjoyed by industrial workers and urban dwellers, but that even the level of health in rural communities in most countries is below that in urban areas. It is not only in the underdeveloped countries that such contrasts exist, they are equally real in the industrialized countries. In view of these facts, the Committee urges action by FAO in the field of rural welfare and emphasizes the necessity for the closest cooperation between the various divisions of FAO toward that end. The Committee realizes that FAO is only one of the international agencies interested in this vast and complex problem but considers that it has a major responsibility in this field. The Committee is convinced that if any noteworthy progress is to be achieved, an attack must be launched on a broad front, with agencies such as the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organisation, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization co operating with the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The Committee therefore approves the recommendation made by the Joint Standing Advisory Committee on Agricultural Science and Agricultural Production, namely:

"That the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization should establish a Joint Standing Committee on Rural Hygiene to make plans for early effective action to improve the conditions of rural populations." The Committee also recognizes the importance of education as a powerful weapon in combating prejudice, ignorance, and apathy, which contribute to poverty and disease. The Committee therefore feels that FAO should give these matters the attention they deserve by establishing a separate division to deal with rural welfare.

8. National FAO Committees

While the Committee discussion centered on the lines of activity that could be promoted most efficiently by FAO, it recognized that in the last analysis the extent to which the needs of consumers and the welfare of producers are met depends largely on actions taken within individual countries and finally within the individual operating unit. It therefore reviewed with interest the steps that have been taken by some 20 governments in response to the recommendation of the Director-General for the establishment of National FAO Committees. However, the Committee wishes to stress that the mere designation of such committees is only a first step in the task of developing an active and effective organization maintaining relationship between FAO and the people it was created to serve.

To this end the Committee strongly recommends:

(1) That each member nation that has not done so take steps to establish a strong representative National FAO Committee.

(2) That the National FAO Committees establish such subcommittees as are needed to promote and support the furtherance of science, the extension of education, the dissemination of technical knowledge, and the betterment of rural populations, and that whenever possible the National FAO Committees include representation from consumer and producer groups.

(3) That effective liaison be established between FAO and the National FAO Committees. This will be possible only if active and immediate attention is given to inquiries and to other matters of common interest.

(4) That each member government in making its periodic report to FAO include a section outlining the scope and progress of the work undertaken by its National FAO Committee.

9. Agricultural Reorientation

Owing to the restrictive economy of the period immediately before the war and to the needs created during the war, agriculture in many parts of the world has been disturbed by the necessity for producing crops not well suited to the prevailing physical conditions. As soon as the present emergency is over, governments will desire to reorient their agriculture along more logical lines. The industrialized countries will tend toward greater production of protective food while other countries will endeavor to raise the crops best suited to the physical conditions in their regions. For example, the Mediterranean countries will pursue the culture of citrus trees, olive trees, and vineyards, which have been the mainstays of their agricultural production.

The Committee, in endorsing the conclusion of the Joint Standing Advisory Committee on Agricultural Science and Agricultural Production that the question of reorientation of agriculture needs intensive study, recommends that the Food and Agriculture Organization through the FAO National Committees make a survey of the major problems concerning the production and utilization of the agricultural produce of member countries.

10. The Agriculture Division of FAO

The Committee approves of the views expressed by the Joint Standing Advisory Committee on the organization and work of an Agriculture Division of FAO. In view of the tasks with which FAO will be confronted in the coming year, the Committee wishes, however, to call to the attention of the Director-General the extreme urgency of establishing the Agriculture Division and of staffing it with adequate and experienced personnel as soon as possible.

B. Nutrition

THE Nutrition Committee had before it the Report of the Standing Advisory Committee on Nutrition. It was clear to the Committee that this report puts forward a series of recommendations of practical value, and these were accepted. The Committee did not wish to make any substantial changes in the program recommended; rather, it considered ways and means by which the program could be implemented. Certain points of importance were emphasized and additional recommendations were made on the following questions: food composition tables, diet surveys, the utilization of cereals, food technology, and national nutrition organizations. The relation of FAO with other international organizations and the nutritional aspects of the food supply targets presented in the World Food Survey were also considered.


1. The Standardization of Food Composition Tables

The expression of food commodities in terms of nutrients (calories, proteins, minerals, and vitamins) requires the use of appropriate tables on food composition. This does not mean a single international figure for each food, inasmuch as there are real differences in the nutritive value of foods as produced and eaten in different parts of the world. But the values used by countries in preparing statistical material for international consideration should be derived by comparable methods, and should represent the nutritive value of food at the same stage in the flow from the point of production (farm) to the point of consumption (the mouth of the consumer).

Most of the data now available on the nutritive value of foods refer to products as brought into the household (retail level), and provide information on the percentage of inedible material and the moisture content and nutritive value of the edible portion at this stage. The nutrient content of the edible portion (E.P.) may be considerably higher than that of the same portion of food "as eaten," because of waste and nutritive losses-both visible and invisible-during household storage, preparation, and serving of foods. Data on the composition of food as eaten will be increasingly necessary as correlations are sought between the results of dietary surveys and appraisals of the nutritional status of individuals and population groups.

The Committee recommends:

That FAO should arrange for joint consultation of experts in nutrition and food statistics from various countries who should develop the principles on which average food composition figures used by individual countries should be based, and explore the means whereby comparability of data for international use can be attained, including, if necessary, the revision of tables now used for this purpose.

2. Diet Surveys

FAO should by all means in its power encourage the making of diet surveys in member countries. The Committee emphasizes specially the importance of studying diet in relation to family income and expenditure.

3. The Utilization of Cereals and, Other Sources of Plant and Food

The Standing Advisory Committee on Nutrition has recommended that FAO undertake a study of the milling, processing, fortification, and preparation of cereals, with the object of ensuring that the cereals consumed are as nutritious as possible. The Nutrition Committee draws attention to a broader aspect of this question, namely, the utilization of cereals, cereal products, and other plant products, as human food or animal feeding stuffs, in such a manner that the nutritional needs of the population are most effectively met. The best method of utilization will differ in various countries, depending on the nutritive value of the cereals and products in question, the efficiency of their conversion by animals into human food, the relative cost of plant and animal products and their acceptability to the consumer, and the nutritive value of the diet of the population, particularly of the low-income groups.

The Committee recommends that FAO initiate the collection of quantitative data for use in determining:

(1) The best utilization of plant products for human consumption, either directly or through the animal in such forms as meat, eggs, and milk;

(2) The most economical and satisfactory balance in production between meat and milk and between eggs and poultry meat.

Such studies would assist governments to plan their food policies so that food production would be adapted to the physiological requirements of the people.

4. Food Technology

Rapid progress has been made in recent years in the chemical and microbial synthesis of foods and nutrients such as yeast, fats, and vitamins. It is highly important that synthetic processes which may contribute to the improvement of nutrition and the alleviation of food shortage and dietary deficiency should be investigated and, if found advisable, their development stimulated. In this connection, the Committee heard With interest a report from a representative of the Forestry Committee on the possibility of obtaining food by the saccharification of wood and considered that the question of using saccharified wood for the production of food yeast should be further explored.

5. National Nutrition Organizations

The Nutrition Committee of the Conference wishes to endorse the views on national nutrition organizations set out in the Report of the Standing Advisory Committee on Nutrition and recognizes that the nature of these organizations must be adapted to the governmental machinery of each country. In general, however, it urges that countries in which there are a number of component units, for example, those in which there is a federation of states or other self-governing communities, establish a combined or central representative nutrition organization.

The Nutrition Committee draws special attention to two points made in the Report of the Standing Advisory Committee on Nutrition, namely, (a) "that FAO activities in all fields within any country should be coordinated" and (b) that national nutrition organizations "must be able to bring influence to bear on governments in planning their policy"-that is, to ensure that food supply, production, and distribution are related to the nutritional requirements of the people.

6. Relations of FAO with the World Health Organization

The Committee emphasizes that FAO and WHO should work in close collaboration in those fields of nutrition with which they are mutually concerned, and endorses the recommendation of the Standing Advisory Committee on Nutrition (hat a joint nutrition committee be set up to secure such collaboration.

7. Relations of FAO with Other Inter national Organizations

Other specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and International Labour Organisation, have also a common interest with FAO in certain nutritional questions. The Committee recommends that the question of establishing suitable relationships between FAO and these organizations, with reference to the study of particular questions, should receive early attention.

8. Nutritional Aspects of Food Supply Targets

The Committee discussed the nutritional aspects of the food supply targets as set out in the World Food Survey. It desires to place on record its opinion that the scientific evidence at present available does not indicate that, given similar environmental conditions, the physiological requirements of food for optimal growth, health, and physical efficiency are different for the peoples in the various parts of the world.

The Committee notes that the Standing Advisory Committee has given thought to the problem of food supply targets and that it proposes to investigate these further. The Committee desires to stress the urgency of the matter and hopes that the Standing Advisory Committee will approach the problem without delay.