The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
A conference on food and agriculture, which met in May 1943 in Hot Springs, Virginia, U.S.A., set up an interim commission to make plans for a permanent Food and Agriculture Organisation. The interim commission prepared a draft constitution. After this had been accepted by more than 20 governments FAO came into being on 16 October 1945. FAO has a threefold aim: to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living of the peoples of the world; to improve the efficiency of the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products; and to improve the condition of rural peoples. Because half the people in the world are undernourished or badly fed, the work of FAO is widely supported and is considered most important by many nations with deficient or ill developed agricultural resources.
In the course of its work in the less developed countries FAO has noted the problems of unstable markets for agricultural produce. Most of these countries depend on exports of primary (mainly agricultural) produce for much of their foreign exchange. Market instability therefore hinders their orderly economic growth; and without orderly growth they find it most difficult to change agricultural patterns in a way which would increase productivity and thus raise standards of living.
New Zealand has been represented at each of the 13 FAO conferences held to date and has been elected on several occasions to membership of the FAO Council which is responsible for the oversight of the Organisation between the biennial conferences.