Consultative Group on Food Production and Investment in Developing Countries

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Consultative Group on Food Production and Investment in Developing Countries

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The Consultative Group on Food Production and Investment in Developing Countries (CGFPI) was one of four bodies established by the 1974 World Food Conference. The International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Food Council, and the Committee on World Food Security were also organized on the basis of Conference recommendations, and CGFPI immediately needed to define its role in this new panoply of agricultural agencies. The World Food Conference requested the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Development Program, and the World Bank to organize the CGFPI with the mandate "to increase, coordinate and improve the efficiency of financial and technical assistance to agricultural production in developing countries." The resolution specified that membership should consist of "bilateral and multilateral donors and representatives of developing countries."

On January 10, 1975, the heads of the three sponsoring agencies met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and agreed that the offices of the Chairman and the Executive Secretary of CGFPI would be located in the World Bank. Edwin M. Martin was named the Chairman, and each of the three agencies agreed to assign one or two staff members to the Secretariat. In March 1975, Moise C. Mensah was named the Executive Secretary.

The Group held its first general meeting in July 1975. However, by its Seventh Session in September of 1975, the United Nations General Assembly, spurred by the lobbying of lesser developed food exporting countries such as Brazil and Argentina, changed the CGFPI mandate. The revised mandate required the Group to "quickly identify developing countries with potentials for most rapid and efficient increase in food production, as well as the potential for rapid agricultural expansion in other developing countries, especially the countries with food deficits."

The Group held four general meetings on the following dates: July 21-23, 1975; February 10-12, 1976; September 22-24, 1976; and September 7-9, 1977. CGFPI was a purely consultative body, with no ability to supply or raise funds. Some of its work included commission studies of regional investment arrangements for fertilizer production and of food production in the Gangetic Plain and the Senegal River Basin. Its central idea and most lasting contribution, however, was their preparation of an outline for a national food plan, defined as "a document that would focus the attention of the Group on needs to be met in a specific country as far as food supply and related investments are concerned." The Group then helped several countries draft such plans, demonstrating the potential of this assessment tool.

The three sponsors of the Group agreed to assess its progress each year. In April 1976, the first assessment expressed doubts that there was a "unique role" for CGFPI among all the other food and agricultural organizations, not the least of which were those managed by the three sponsoring agencies. The doubts increased, and in February 1978 the sponsors decided that the Group should be disbanded. The Chairman left immediately thereafter, and the Group dissolved in June 1978.

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