Report from ICAO (1997)

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This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
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Dec., 1997
(Source: ICA Review, Vol.90 No.4, 1997, pp.38)


Report from the ICAO (to General Assembly, 1997) 
by Mario Dumais*
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The Committee met twice since the ICA Congress in Manchester in 1995.
In the Spring of 1996, the ICAO held a meeting jointly with IFAP (the
International Federation of Agricultural Producers in Versailles.
In November 1996 the FAO Conference on Food Security was held in
Rome and for the first time 15 NGOs were invited to participate, one on
these being the Organisation for Agricultural Co-ops. We stressed at this
meeting that food security was no longer a problem of production but rather
one of  access to production.

If it is no longer a problem of production, this is thanks to the efforts being
made in the agricultural sector and to technological progress in this field.
During the meeting, we emphasised that 45% of economically active
persons worldwide worked in agriculture.

The performance of this sector of the world population is remarkable.
World population which used to total 2.5 billion in 1950 has more than
doubled to reach approximately 5.8 billion today.  Over the last 30 years,
the percentage of the population considered to be under-fed and which
remains shockingly high has nonetheless decreased by 950 million persons
to 800 million, despite the increase in population. We also drew attention to
the paradox that the under-nourished sector of the population is primarily
from the agricultural sector. We concluded that the most appropriate
mandate for the co-operative movement would be to improve the fate of the
rural populations which were the worst off.

Since the FAO meeting on food security, the ICAO has been working on a
conference on agricultural inputs to coincide with the ICA GA. The aim is
to discuss the situation of industrial fertilizers, products to protect young
plants and seedlings and products for animal health.  We will also hear
presentations describing experiments in these fields.  The aim of this
meeting is to promote inter-cooperation within the agricultural sector in the
field of agricultural inputs.

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* Mr. Dumais is Secretary General of the Co-operative Federee-du-Quebec
   and Chairman of the International Co-operative Agricultural Organisation
   (ICAO).