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close this bookCERES No. 075 (FAO Ceres, 1980, 50 p.)
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FAO in action

Recovery in cereals

Larger plantings by farmers and good weather that prevailed in many regions during the first four months of this year are pointing toward substantial gains over 1979 in world harvests of cereals and oilseeds. In its latest Food Outlook Report, FAO predicted that combined production of wheat and coarse grains should rise to 1 208 million tons assuming normal growing conditions for the balance of this year. Wheat production was estimated at 450 million tons, 7 percent above 1979, while the coarse grains estimate was 755 million tons, 3 percent higher than last year. Although world trade in wheat and coarse grains has reached unprecedented levels following last year's 4-percent decline in production, FAO said that export availabilities of grain are more than sufficient to meet import requirements. Carry-over stocks of cereals, however, will be 14 million tons below 1979 levels and, equivalent to 17 percent of annual consumption, represent "the minimum required for world food security. "

Consultations on rice

An informal and voluntary "framework for international consultations on rice'' has been adopted by member countries of the FAO Intergovernmental Group on Rice. The framework, which consolidates consultative arrangements developed by the FAO Group in previous years, calls for six activities: consultations, regular review of rice market conditions, estimates by member governments of import requirements and export availabilities, guidelines relating to concessional transactions, regular review of rice production policies and evaluation of the adequacy of rice stocks. The Rice Group found that in 1980 there will be ''a close balance between global export availabilities and import requirements. '' with world rice trade expected to match the record level of 11.1 million tons of last year.

Oilseed supplies increase

For the third consecutive year, world output of oilseed products in 1980 will set a record, pushing supplies well beyond demand. At its annual meeting in Rome in April, the FAO Intergovernmental Group on Oilseeds, Oils and Fats estimated that production of edible and soap fats is likely to rise by 9 percent to 61 million tons and oilseed proteins by 18 percent to 46 million tons. Since production increases are concentrated in exporting countries, export supplies will rise even more sharply in proportion, though stocks are not expected to reach ''unduly burdensome levels." Prices, however, already below average 1979 levels, may decline further in coming months.

Coordinating role

"The largest small farmer development programme in the world today" is how the Commission on African Animal Trypanosomiasis has described FAO's long-term programme for combating the usually fatal disease that impedes development in large areas of the African continent. In endorsing FAO's role as the coordinator of national, bilateral and multilateral efforts, the Commission suggested that each area and set of circumstances should be individually studied and assessed before appropriate integrated control and development policies could be formulated.

Binding convention urged

A legally binding convention to provide for international food emergency reserves is being advocated forcefully by FAO Director-General Edouard Saouma. In major addresses in April before the European Parliament's Committee for Development and Cooperation in Brussels and the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes in Rome, Mr. Saouma decried the lack of any guarantee that assistance from the present International Emergency Food Reserve "would be readily available when and where it is most urgently needed " Acknowledging the political implications of such a convention, the Director-General said he was convinced that ''the chaotic situation of the world at present calls for a bold approach.'"

Food aid commitments

Food aid worth $186.6 million was approved for 16 economic and social development projects in 15 countries when the Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes, the governing body of the World Food Programme, met in late April. The majority of the projects were in the agricultural sector, with three aimed directly at increasing food production. Of WFP's overall food aid target of $950 million for the 1979-80 biennium, only 80 percent has been pledged by donor countries. The target for 1981-82 is $1 000 million, one third of which was pledged during a recent conference.

Support for Africans

FAO will continue to support the peoples and liberation movements of Namibia and South Africa in their determination to end colonialism, racism and apartheid "so that the nations of Africa may turn their energy and resources to fighting that other great enemy - hunger.'' This was the message delivered by FAO Director-General Edouard Saouma to the Extraordinary Economic Summit of the Organization of African Unity in Lagos in April. He urged OAU member nations to grant ''the highest development priority'' to food and agriculture in national and regional economic planning.

Women's group honoured

On its 50th anniversary, the Associated Country Women of the World was awarded FAO's commemorative ceres medal in recognition of its efforts in promoting women's role in rural development.