|CERES No. 109 (FAO Ceres, 1986, 50 p.)|
CONFERENCE ENDORSES FAO WORK PROGRAMME
FAO's programme of work and budget for the 1986-67 biennium was approved by the Organization's Governing Conference during its 23rd session last November. The new budget of $437 million (based on an exchange rate of 1 760 Italian lire to the US dollar) represents a real increase of only 1.1 per cent over the previous budget. However, while the overall net programme increase was held to $5 million, savings achieved in administrative and support areas permitted a net programme increase of US$9.4 million for technical and economic programmes, especially in the field. The Conference endorsed six key programme objectives to which Director-General Edouard Saouma had assigned priority for 1986-87: promotion of food production, increasing food security, consolidation of information systems, emphasizing training, enhancement of economic and technical cooperation among developing countries, and ensuring impact at the field level. The overall priority given to addressing African problems was also endorsed. A Conference resolution urged that policies and programmes of both African countries and external sources of assistance should give priority to the rehabilitation and development of food production.
FOOD AID DONATED BY INDONESIAN FARMERS
A donation of more than 100 000 tons of paddy rice - the first ever emergency food aid contribution through FAO directly from producers - has been made by Indonesian farmers for "less fortunate brethren in other countries of the world who are ravished by natural disasters and food shortages". Thirty-two Indonesian farmers representing all parts of the country, as well as Indonesia's Agriculture Minister Achmad Affandi and other senior officials, were present for the special ceremony during the FAO Conference at which a symbolic bag of rice was presented to Director-General Edouard Saouma The presentation came a day after Indonesia's President Suharto had addressed the Conference and related his country's successes in increasing food production, recalling that "from a nation which only some years ago was the biggest rice-importing country in the world, with a total import of two million tons a year, we now have become self-sufficient." Both President Suharto and France's President Frans Mitterrand, who also addressed the Conference, called for increased North-South cooperation to help developing countries solve problems of hunger and malnutrition. President Mitterrand outlined three approaches to a world economic recovery: reform of the international monetary system; the fullest participation by developing countries in multilateral trade negotiations; and "a global approach to the problems of indebtedness and of development, with the possibility of new public and private financial agreements".
FAO'S MEMBERSHIP INCREASES TO 158
In other major actions the FAO Conference:
- endorsed a World Food Security Compact calling on all governments, non-governmental organizations, and individuals to commit themselves to ensure the aims of world food security;
- approved an International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides;
- admitted the Solomon Islands and the Cook Islands to FAO membership, bringing total membership to 158 nations;
- reported that nearly 80 countries have thus far endorsed the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (see Ceres, July-August 1983, page 3);
- reviewed a major FAO study on "Agricultural Price Policies" (see Ceres, September-October 1985, page 15) which shows that "a quiet revolution" is taking place as more developing countries adopt strong price incentives designed to stimulate greater food output;
- approved FAO's programme for a world census of agriculture in 1990.
URGENT MEASURES PROPOSED FOR SAHEL
FAO has proposed a four-pronged crash programme for the Sahelian zone designed to help consolidate within that region the Organization's agricultural rehabilitation scheme for Africa that was launched last year. The proposal was made to the heads of state of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) by FAO Director-General Edouard Saouma as he completed a tour of six countries in the Sahelian zone. The four areas in which FAO would provide additional technical assistance were chosen to reflect priorities identified by CILSS governments comprising:
- the production, storage, and distribution of improved local seeds;
- increased production of vaccines and reinforced animal health services to help in rinder-pest control, and assistance to drought-affected livestock;
- emergency action to stop the proliferation of pests, especially locusts, which this year are posing a threat in Mali and Mauritania;
- the strengthening of FAO's Early Warning System in the Sahel
"Priority should be given to simple actions with modest but attainable objectives compatible with local realities," Mr Sauoma said.
INDIA'S RURAL WOMEN SEE STATUS DECLINE
Employment opportunities for women on family farms in India are declining and there is growing pressure for women to resort to wage labour, often under exploitive conditions. This is one of the findings of a recently published study commissioned by FAO's Statistics Division and carried out by the Institute of Social Studies Trust in New Delhi. "A disturbing trend in women's participation in agriculture during the last decade," the study declares, "is their progressive shift from the cultivator to the labourer status." On the basis of 1971 census data, more than half the country's female labour force is engaged as agricultural labourers, as against one-third in the 1951 census. While male cultivators and agricultural labourers number about 77.6 million and 34.7 million respectively, according to the most recent census, there are only about 15 million women cultivators and 21 million agricultural labourers.
FORESTRY SCHEME INVOLVES PEASANTS
For a number of years Benin has been paying particular attention to the development of forest resources. Within the framework of a major rural development programme, a five-year $1 million FAO/UNDP project is designed to address a range of objectives related to improved protection of the ecosystem. Fast-growing tree species are being introduced to ensure the availability of fuelwood and other forest product supplies for the rural population. Peasants are being encouraged to become involved on the reforestation activities and in a campaign to control forest fires. This latter effort has attracted significant participation of peasants in all parts, evidently signalling their acceptance of the Government's scheme for closer integration of agriculture, forestry, and livestock rearing. In order to strengthen the technical and administrative capacities of the forestry service, training programmes are being carried out at all levels. The social dimensions and human factor in forestry development are being accorded this priority with a view to facilitating the promotion of investment in the forestry sector from multilateral and bilateral sources of assistance.
SENEGAL SUPPORTS MARKETING GARDENING
Since it was established in 1972, Senegal's Centre for Horticultural Development (CDH) at Camberene, in the Cape Vert region, has been providing a wide range of supporting services to the country's important market gardening sector. The Centre's work has been oriented toward research on practical problems encountered by growers. Its broader objectives, however, are not only to increase and diversify market garden output, but also to improve nutritional standards among the rural populations as well as promote the export of topquality vegetables The original five hectare holding has been expanded to 40 hectares, thus allowing for field testing, demonstration plots, and seed production. A drip irrigation system has been installed, drawing water from about 20 wells and two reservoirs. Four specialized laboratories provide facilities for plant breeding, entomology, plant disease research, and seed production. Originally established with financial support from the United Nations Special Fund, for the past ten years the Centre has been supported by Belgian trust funds through FAO which has provided technical assistance through all phases of development. Since 1979, it has been part of the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research (ISRA).