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Discussion QUESTION: Senator, how can you get the American farmer in the Midwest interested in the realities of what is happening to people in far away places, in the districts of India or Africa? When he is preoccupied with his own problems, how can he be persuaded to show compassion or a willingness to help people he does not know? SENATOR HUMPHREY: If the U.S. Government announces it will buy $3 billion worth of foodgrains, the farmers will produce them, exactly as tanks are produced when the gov- ernment says it wants to purchase l,000 of them for security purposes. The problem is one of leadership. We have a presidential system and it requires strong leader- ship—moral leadership, political leadership, a design and programs. If you have this, people will respond. If the government says we must produce 2.5 billion bushels of wheat next year, and we will put 500 million bushels in an international emergency program, and we are going to buy it from you, Mr. Farmer, he will produce it. The American people are perfectly willing to see that people in India or Ethiopia have food, and those who produce it want to sell it. If they cannot sell it commercially, they would like to sell it to their government. Then the government can make concessional arrangements with some- body else. 45

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The American farmer is still concerned about sur- pluses, depressed prices, and overabundance. That is why the government has to design a program with target prices. These must be raised above $2 a bushel for wheat. We are still dealing with our farmers as if diesel fuel costs l2 cents a gallon and they can get all the barbed wire they want! QUESTION: Senator Humphrey mentioned the need for a food information system to help predict the supply of food crops. Is there any ready and easily understandable in- formation available that shows for each country and population the amount they raise domestically, the amount they usually import, and how this has varied over time? DR. MELLOR: The answer is yes, but there are some diffi- culties in this, and they are of two types: First, the demand for food is very much a policy variable that is related to the distribution of income, which is a func- tion of national policy. In order to project the demand for food we must know what some of the national policies will be. These policies in turn have to be framed in terms of what the supply will be. It is a very complex interaction. On the supply side, the basic means of increasing agricultural production beyond the minimal amount to keep up with population growth is new technol- ogy, which is a very opportunistic issue. Second, and the greatest problem for countries that today are pressing on world food reserves, particularly India, is simple unwillingness to face reality as to where they are going. They face a "political" problem because the government does not want to admit that it will be dependent on food imports for a considerable period of time. This makes it very difficult for them to frame a sensible long-run import policy which will mesh in with policies of other countries. This difficult political problem, in some respects, transcends the technical problem of making supply and demand estimates. It will require some complex negotiations in the context of good faith. QUESTION: Senator, you spoke of something we might call "FPEC"—an organization of food producing and exporting countries, similar to OPEC in the petroleum field. What mechanism will be required to bring this about—just leadership on the part of the Administration, or would legislation be necessary? As far as I know about export/ 46

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import shipment licensing, the government does not influ- ence prices, as, for example, the last big Soviet wheat deal. If our government had sufficient information about demand and supply, under what aspects of the law could it step in, control, influence, or otherwise modify the terms of the agreement between the Russians who are buying and the people who are selling? You commented that we need to be concerned with prices. SENATOR HUMPHREY: We need diplomatic and political cooperation with other food exporting countries—Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, for example. We ought to work together in the international market. I am not advo- cating that we gang up on the rest of the world in the food area. The problem with the Russian wheat deal was basically a lack of information at the time and the nature of our trading system. We do not have state trading. We do not even have a wheat board as the Canadians do. We deal through private firms and they are expected to share information with the government on a timely basis. This information must be compiled quickly so that it can be useful in telling us what the demands will be upon our supply. We have learned a lot in the last two years, but there is room for improvement. When our reserves are low at the end of the crop year, good reporting information is critical. We had a carryover of about l75 to 200 million bushels of wheat at the end of the crop year on June 30th, and that is a low reserve. When you get down to that point, I think that the Secretary of Agriculture should monitor exports very carefully and we should have a better system of control. Perhaps we ought to have an export licensing system. This is highly controversial, but we ought to take a good look at it. We need an improved information system and we are working on it in the Office of Technology Assessment. We need a system that alerts us to a short supply situation without putting on export controls. Unless we plan and prepare accordingly, we will have some serious political repercussions at home, such as a tremendous backlash against rural America. That must not happen. We certainly need legislation to set up a reserve system. For 25 years we had what we thought was the curse of food surplus and the idea was to get rid of it. We mandated the Department of Agriculture to dispose of it, and the Public Law 480 program was designed to do this. Having gotten rid of the surpluses, we now find 47

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that we need to get back some of those reserves. DR. MELLOR: From the vantage of low-income countries there would be cause for concern about an organization like the "FPEC"—e.g., who would run it, for what rea- sons, and the political implications of it. It is probably a good idea, but most Asian and African coun- tries are not sure about it and would not know how to approach it. I expect they would treat it with great delicacy. QUESTION: We are told that if more food were available to the poor, say in India, that this would in some way have an effect on population growth, that it would de- crease because not so many sons would be needed to help feed the family. We are also told that population be- havior is primarily related to customs. Both may be correct. The customs might change as the quantity of food increases, and this would induce a big transient. But, if you increase the food supply, population would go up and then you would again get a decrease in the food supply. Has anyone estimated the size and length of this transient? It might be very, very serious be- cause 50 percent more food may be required. In ten years the food may not be there, and the situation will be a lot worse. DR. PAARLBERG: In the developed countries, Western Europe and the U.S., the transition from high birth rates to relatively low rates and a reasonable stabili- zation of population took l50 years. The developing countries do not have that much time to make this tran- sition, and I am not sure that the historical experience of the western world is applicable to the developing world today. That is why the effort to increase food production must be accompanied by a strong program to limit the population growth rate. DR. MELLOR: An increase in food supplies and incomes of poor people is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for lower birth rates. I emphasize the necessary aspect of it because it gets glossed over too often. I would argue for getting on with economic develop- ment, but through a process that ensures participation, and then adding a really vigorous program to lower birth rates. Raising incomes and participation of the poor brings down birth rates much more rapidly nowadays than 48

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it used to. The reason is due in good part to the kinds of population programs we have been applying in these countries. Birth rates went down faster in Japan than in the U.S. and Western Europe, and faster in Taiwan than in, Japan. They have been coming down faster still in South Korea. The birth rate is clearly coming down extraordi- narily rapidly in Singapore and in Hong Kong. These countries, except for Japan, were all considered low- income or underdeveloped countries ten or fifteen years ago. I want to re-emphasize the point that the measures needed to get participation of the poor and bring birth rates down over time must cope in the short and inter- mediate term with an accelerated rate of growth in demand for food. I suspect that institutionally we have better means to deal with the food supply problem than we have for the population problem, but they have to be consider- ed together. DR. WILCOX: My concern is how you adapt engineering to the social institutions. The real question is: How can we adapt our food production technology so that we can make use of it in other countries? I am thinking now, for example, of irrigation and water supplies. How can we take an irrigation plan that will work with the insti- tutions of a country when these institutions vary from country to country? Another example is fertilizers. We have the compe- tence to produce fertilizer and the elements we need are there. It is a matter of institutionally organizing our- selves to produce it and make it available in countries that need it. Again, this requires a country-by-country adaptation of the engineering capability in fertilizers to the institutions of these countries. Another important topic is weather modification technology. A different range of institutions is invol- ved here, because it is something new. But, it may be a great possibility if we can continue to improve our knowledge. From a report of a Woods Hole research pro- gram I learned that wastes of cities along the seacoast were being used for fish development. Greater use of waste recycling is a real possibility even in the poor countries. However, I would re-emphasize that these possibilities must be fitted into the institutional situations that exist there.

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MR. NEYLAN: The area we do not understand well and have not looked at enough in thinking of the problems of the developing world is the area of institutions. Mr. Dennison referred to this in speaking of the difficulties of getting a project moving in a developing country. One of our problems in understanding their institutions is that we look at the developing countries with the preju- dices of our backgrounds, depending on whether we come out of economics or out of technical engineering or science. Development is not just economic development or just technical development; it has to be a marriage between these two. DR. MURRAY: I have listened to comments on what is need- ed to increase food production: plant breeding, machinery, etc. It is my observation that in many parts of the developing world most of the energy and labor for agri- culture consists of women and children and that the most significant advance might be a longer hoe handle. Women in Kenya, for example, are working with a hoe handle that is too short. What does it take to get acceptance of small changes such as a longer hoe handle? DR. MELLOR: In a Kenyan rural development project aided by the World Bank about 40 percent of the households are headed by women. Essentially, all of the farming and food production is done by women. Western extension pro- grams which were introduced, work only with the men. This reflects a very substantial and difficult problem of tra- ditional cultural attitudes of Western people about how to develop agriculture, rather than the problem of tradi- tionalism among people in the developing countries. We are too prone to think that Indian or Kenyan farmers are backward because they do not accept a new technology. We should recognize that it is not suited to their set of circumstances. They are as interested in increasing their production and income as the American farmer. Cultural hangups that impede rural development often exist also within the Western-educated middle classes in developing countries who have great difficulty understanding how their own farmers think and operate. They have great difficulty, therefore, building suitable institutions to bring technology, information, and physi- cal inputs to their farmers. In the U.S., too, the urban middle class does not understand the problems of our own farmers. 50

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into a country like Bangladesh or Indonesia means invest- ments in an industry that is extremely capital-intensive, the worst kind of industry for countries with limited capital resources and one that creates very little employ- ment and, therefore, very little participation. The international community would have to put in substantial capital, which again raises a complex question about poli- tical relationships. MR. DENNISON: A fertilizer plant in Bangladesh does not have to be huge unless it is built for extensive exports. The Chinese have shown us this. Also, the number of people employed in a fertilizer plant represents a frac- tion of the total that could be involved. There is the whole distribution system and a whole network could be created if this is combined with a public works program to build access roads, bunding water and irrigation. Such a program would employ many more than, say, the 850 people working at the actual plant site. MR. PIKARSKY: Senator Humphrey said it takes leadership to translate what we are discussing here into action in the political and legislative process. This seems to be rather lacking here because we do not have people from the White House listening. I do not see the bridge from this type of group to public decision-making and policy. DR. SEAMANS: Both Academies fully recognize this. We have been testifying about the need for a council on science and technology at the presidential level. The nearest thing to it today is the President's Science Advisor, who is also the head of the National Science Foundation. We invited his right hand man to be with us today. We recognize that at this time we have limited influence over some of these political and policy matters. QUESTION: Are the international agricultural research centers really multinational in operation? Where can one find information about how they are run and managed? DR. MELLOR: The Rockefeller Foundation has a publication on this subject. The centers have international staffs and international boards of directors, though people in the low-income countries would probably say that they are run by the U.S., other high-income countries, and the World Bank. In the long run we must have more participa- tion of low-income country nationals in the centers' 5l

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I agree that there are many small things that can be done to improve farming, but I am not very optimistic about the small changes in technology that could have been expected to be conceived within the rural society of the developing countries. They have been experimenting for thousands of years, and I do not think they have developed the wrong kind of hoe for themselves—though it may seem so to us. MR. DENNISON: When I spoke about a new ethic for the profession, I meant that it should be part of a new ethic for our society. How can we in every conceivable way begin to get maximum efficiency, to recycle, and find new uses and new means for our resources, including fertili- zer? A good deal of fertilizer is wasted. We know this and agronomists agree. The great thing about the engineer is that he func- tions not only as a professional, but also as a manager; he gets feedback and develops action against the feedback. An active engineering process is a constantly correcting process. It is an extremely important process to bring into the world food situation, along with other disci- plines, not as a panacea but as a dynamic and controlling factor. MR. RODDIS: I share the concern over gas being flared off in the Middle East. We have a real need for energy to produce fertilizer, and this waste is a great tragedy for mankind. If we can find a political mechanism to do something about this, we could also do a great deal to relieve the food situation and other problems associated with population. We should do something about this. Cyclical over-production/under-production takes place in almost any competitive industry. It happens in the paper business, the same as it does in fertilizers, and I could name others. DR. MELLOR: The flared gases are located mostly in Third World countries, in the Middle East, Indonesia, and Bang- ladesh. I see two problems here from the United States' point of view. First, do we want to help bring about a massive shift in the world's fertilizer production to countries that are not very much subject to our control, and with which we are likely to have substantial differences of interest in the future? There is some reluctance to do this. Second, putting massive fertilizer production facilities 52

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policy-making process. DR. LEOPOLD: Some people have spoken of the need for systems analysis in approaching the food-population pro- blem. You will be interested to know that there are two computer models of world food and population in existence in our office (and probably a third one in process). Access to them can be arranged through Dr. Wade Blackman in the Science and Technology Policy Office of the Nation- al Science Foundation. MR. BAXTER: The problem of food is probably one of the most important issues facing us. But we have a whole lot of problems and programs in this country, and many people think we are not doing enough about them—e.g., pollution abatement, welfare funding, veterans assistance, and mass transportation. Where does this particular problem fit on the scale of priority problems we must set our minds and hands to? This is one question that COPEP and each one of us here will have to answer. 53