Cooperative Action in Food and Agriculture Production

27. The Conference noted with concern the critical food situation facing developing countries. Many countries confront a situation where imports have tended to grow rapidly in the face of shrinking real foreign exchange earnings with a consequent aggravation of their indebtedness. Others have been faced with the lack of assured sources of supply from developing countries which has further compounded the economic situation of these developed countries. It also expressed great concern that food is being increasingly used by some developed countries as a political weapon. Forecasts on the food and agriculture situation, including fisheries, for the present decade and beyond present very disquieting prospects. The Conference urged the international community to take urgent and concerted action.

28. Reiterating that cooperation in the sector of food and agriculture should be accorded priority in ECDC, the Conference recommended that urgent and concrete measures should be taken to make full use of potential production capacities of developing countries with a view to accelerating food production and attaining national and collective self-reliance.

29. The Conference recommended that an increase in joint food production capacities of developing countries should be attained through cooperative arrangements on mutually beneficial terms, including joint ventures, in areas of land, water and manpower resources.

  1. Countries with shared water resources should, with full respect to each other’s interests, enter into cooperative actions aimed at optimum and rational utilization and conservation of water resources. Developing countries with requisite know-how, technical, and/or financial resources should cooperate with other developing countries in planning, designing and implementation of such joint undertakings.

  2. Cooperation should be encouraged among countries with extensive land and other resources and those endowed with requisite technological know-how, management capacities and finance, to make optimum and rational use of land resources for maximizing production of food and other agricultural commodities.

Cooperative Action to Food Security

30. Besides the cooperative efforts required to increase agricultural production and productivity as the most important instruments to attain greater national and collective self-reliance in food supplies, reduce dependence on the world food market and food aid, and diminish and proportion of foreign exchange earnings used for food imports, the Conference recommended that:

  1. Developing countries, subject to their national policies, should take cooperative action to establish a scheme for acquiring and maintaining food reserves including infrastructure arrangements (viz. Storage, marketing, transportation and port facilities and institutions for stock management and distribution), utilizing as far as possible locally available construction materials and designs.

  2. The above-mentioned scheme should be composed of a network of sub-regional and regional food reserves and financial arrangements. In the establishment of these reserves, the experience of some regional reserves already established, such as in the ASEAN, or under way as in the SAHEL, could be used.

  3. In order to meet the food needs of developing countries, vulnerable to food shortages, those countries which find themselves in a situation which allows them to do so should make contributions in cash, kind and technical expertise for the improvement of infrastructures, expansion of storage and marketing facilities, improvement of communications, and inland transportation and stock management institutions. The least developed countries should be given this assistance on concessional terms.

  4. A group of experts should be convened to prepare a project on a scheme for acquiring and maintaining food reserves which could include, inter alia, institutional and financial arrangements, and present its conclusions to the Group of 77 not later than the end of 1981.

Cooperative Action for the Production and Supply of Agricultural Inputs

31. The Conference recommended that cooperative arrangements for the production and supply of critical agricultural inputs should include, inter alia, the following:

  1. Joint assessment of the requirements of developing countries for critical agricultural inputs and identification of countries with the potential for producing them.

  2. Establishment of joint ventures and other cooperative measures for production and marketing of agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers, pesticides, agricultural machinery and implements as well as improved seed and livestock breeds. The experience of some action mechanisms already established in regional economic organisations, could be used.

  3. Developing countries which have the potential for producing agricultural inputs should be given preference by other developing countries in the acquisition of agricultural inputs, and thus encourage them to start manufacturing or to produce larger quantities. Producing and consuming countries should reach agreement on terms and conditions under which inputs would be produced and delivered on reciprocally advantageous basis.

  4. Consultations on specific issues among managers and technicians should be organized and deal particularly with the implementation of cooperative measures in the fields of production and marketing of critical agricultural inputs.

Cooperative Action in Fisheries

32. Cooperation in the fisheries sector shall be based upon the new legal regime of the oceans emerging from the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. The Conference on ECDC recommended that cooperation in fisheries should aim at rapidly increasing the output and supplies of fish and fish products as a means of increasing total food supplies. In this regard the Conference recommended that this cooperation may include:

  1. Joint production of fishery equipment, including the building of fishing vessels.

  2. Exchange and transfer of modern fishery technologies for inland water fish production and marine aquaculture.

  3. Cooperative research in improved techniques for industrial processing and use of fish products.

  4. Technical cooperation in institution building and the overall organisation and management of fishery resources, and training fisherman and technical personnel.

  5. Cooperation in the development of improved techniques in small-scale fishing, and in the organisation of the sector with a view to increasing its production and benefits.

  6. Joint action for the promotion of trade in fish and fish products in international markets.

  7. Cooperation against pollution of the marine environment, lakes and rivers.

Cooperative Action in Management of Natural Resources

33. The Conference recommended that cooperation in improved ecological management with a view to securing rational exploitation and development of natural resources, especially rangelands, forestry and wild life, and in using forests as a renewable source of energy should be strongly promoted.

Cooperative Action in Research and Development, and Transfer of Technology in Food and Agriculture

34. The Conference recommended that cooperation in research and development and transfer of technology among developing countries should include areas such as:

  1. Planning for increased food and agricultural production with emphasis on assessments of medium-to-long-term outlook at regional and subregional levels, and formulation of cooperative activities in food and agriculture by economic integration grouping of developing countries.

  2. Soil and water management.

  3. Optimizing use of fertilizers and other agricultural inputs.

  4. Development of new technologies and their adaptation and extension to specific conditions of developing countries.

  5. Development of human resources, including as a priority continuous training programmes, to ensure adequate staffing at national levels, and raising the productivity in the agricultural sector.

  6. Prevention of food losses, inter-country projects for the development of high-yielding varieties and production and distribution of improved seeds and exchange of new germ plasms.

  7. Control of pests and diseases with particular reference to intensification of joint efforts and programmes to combat trypanosomiasis and onchocerciases in Africa and strengthening of regional programmes and projects for the control of locust, rinderpest and African swine fever, and others.

  8. Control of desertification, particularly through intensification of ongoing programmes and projects dealing with assessments of soil degradation, destocking of abused grazing lands and ecological management of arid and semi-arid range of forest lands.

  9. Research and development for new and renewable sources of energy as well as their commercial application in food productions and integrated rural development.

  10. The above cooperation, based on mutual contributions and shared financing as well as in the sharing of the results thereof, should include research at national or regional institutions, collaborative research by two or more countries, collaborative training facilities including study tours by farmers and exchange of experts and including also attachments of research and scientists, among the developing countries.

Cooperation in Rural Development

35. Recalling inter alia the objectives and Programme of Action as adopted by the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, that was held in Rome in 1979, the Conference recommended that economic and technical cooperation among developing countries in activities affecting rural development should be promoted particularly through:

  1. Exchange of experience and expertise gained in planning and implementing programmes of agrarian reform and rural development.

  2. Exchange of experience and information on people’s participation, rural organisations and integration of women in rural development.

  3. Setting up Regional Centres for Integrated Rural Development among interested developing countries.

Cooperative Action in Trade

36. With a view to increasing trade in food and other agricultural commodities among developing countries, the Conference recommended that:

  1. Cooperation between trading organisations should be developed.

  2. Food-exporting developing countries should take concrete measures to accord priority, without prejudice to their national interests or to their existing commitments, to food-importing developing countries in securing their food supplies so as to meet their net domestic requirements.

  3. The possibility of cooperation in exchanging agricultural input supplies in exchange for raw materials should also be explored.

  4. Producer’s associations of developing countries should play a role in promoting multinational production enterprises, by, inter alia, the establishment of Action Committees, the preparation of feasibility studies and the organization of symposia and other meetings in order to bring together all interested parties.

  5. Consultations such as those recommended in paragraph 31 (d) should be regularly held to examine the various areas of trade cooperation in the field of food and agriculture.

  6. Food imports of developing countries from developed countries should be assessed against the potential of other developing countries which can produce and supply these commodities. Projects could be prepared by the potential producing countries in conjunction with food importing countries to meet the needs of the latter. These projects should identify requirements of resources both financial and technical.

37. The Group of 77 in Rome is entrusted with the task of convening a meeting in 1982 or as soon as possible thereafter, that would analyze the measures agreed above related to ECDC in the field of food and agriculture with a view to enhancing their implementation.

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