Ministers of Agriculture, of their representatives, from 31 African countries and France met near Algiers on Friday (September 25) for the opening session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (F.
Ministers of Agriculture, of their representatives, from 31 African countries and France met near Algiers on Friday (September 25) for the opening session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (F.A.O.) conference. It was the Organisation's sixth regional conference for Africa, scheduled to last nine days.
The Director-General of the F.A.O., Mr Addeke H. Boerma, told delegates on the first day that the most urgent problem needing to be tackled by his organisation and member countries was unemployment.
Mr Boerma said rising populations in the developing countries created a need for employment opportunities on a scale hitherto barely envisaged. Otherwise, he said, a situation could arise leading to the breakdown of whole societies.
Other main problems facing the F.A.O., according to the Director-General, were rural development, conservation of the environment and research. Mr Boerma also said that African agricultural development would call for considerable investment, accompanied by sound strategies for technical and institutional change together with the development of education and human resources.
Another speaker at the opening session, Mr Robert Gardiner, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, said that prospects in the race between food and population on the African continent were not gloomy. He felt that results in several countries gave hope that Africa could turn from a deficit into a surplus area in food production, given the right policies and programmes.
Five invited countries, Gabon, Gambia, Malawi, Niger and Rwanda were not represented at the opening session.