Turkey urgently needs cement to build new housing, but its cement industry operated at half capacity several years ago because there were not enough paper bags for packing and shipping th product.
In East Africa, small, regional newspapers set up with the help of a United Nations agency have been forced to reduced sharply the number of pages of information they publish because of newsprint shotages.
A U.N. representative abroad was surprised to find pages of his discarded official reports being used to wrap tomatoes and vegetables in the local village marketplace. It turned out that his maid had been retrieving the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] from his home and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] it in the local economy.
According to Peter A. Glenshaw, a Reston, Va., private consultant who has analyzed th global pulp and paper situation for the World Bank and United Nations, enormous amounts of food and fertilizer are lost or spoiled each year because of inadequate or nonexistent packaging.
The lack of paper and packaging in the less developed countries (the LDCs) now adversely affects education, literacy campaigns, communications and the food supply. It is a limiting factor to growth.
There are, in fact, few clearer examples of the deep schism between rich countries and the rest of the world than the little-noticed "paper gap."
About 95 per cent of the factories and technology for making packaging, pulp and paper are located in developed nations - and only tiny amounts of their product reach the Third World. In 1975, the LDCs used only 11.8 million tons of the total 133 million tons produced in the world, and imported only 4 million tons.
In both the production and consumption of paper, the LDCs are truly in another world.
A typical copy of Sunday's Washington Post weighs slighly over 3 pounds. In India the average per person consumption of paper (including cardboard boxes) is 4.4 pounds a year.
The United States is overwhelmingly the world's largest producer and consumer of paper. The annual use per person is 589 pounds. That of Haiti, 600 miles from Miami, is 1.3 pounds. The United States makes four our of every 10 tons of pulp and paper in the world. This output is seven times that of the Soviet Union.
Surprisingly, though, the United States has not spread its paper products and its pulp making technology around the world to the extent that it has in other major industries.
In the last decade, developing countries spent billions of dollars on auto factories, steel plants, flour mills and transportation system, and invited in huge multinational corporations to share the costs in return for taking some of the profits.
This pattern of developing countries copying rich countries and using multinational corporations to transfer the technology has been little evident in pulp and paper.
In other industries, such as petroleum, western multinational corporations have been blamed for profiteering, pillaging resources and plotting to overthrow governments in the tions, the huge international timber and paper companies - the "multipulps" - have tended to limit their multinational operations to other developed countries.
"The clearly dominant attitude [of the companies] is one of lack of high interest" toward the Third World, says consultant Glenshaw.
The paradoxical situation of powerful multinational corporations showing little interest in vast natural resources - the planet's tropical forests - and in large potential markets flows from numerous factors, some of which are uniqe to the pulp and paper industry.
The leading reason is that most of the multipulps feel that they do not need the LDCs - either as a source of raw material or as a market.
Most experts now believe that the North American timber supplying the multipulps with their resource base is more than adequate, at least for the time being. And the demand for paper and packaging in the developed countries - while it is slowing down - is still so enormous that timber firms estimate that they will need to invest $50 billion of capital in the United States alone to keep up with the demand until 1985.
In the late 1960s, there was talk of North American timber supplies running out, and many multipulps rushed to buy or lease timber holding in Brazil, Borneo, Indonesia, Western Samoa and the Philippines.
In retrospect, many timber executives feel that they panicked. Building roads and installing the equipment required to get trees out of the tropical jungles has proved costly. Also, the eucalyptus and other tropical hardwoods produce a pulp that is inferior to that derived from the softwoods of North America.
Pulp and paper plants that cost $300 million to build in the United States have cost as much as $1 billion in the Amazon River region of Brazil, industry sources say.
Several years ago, entrepreneur Daniel Ludwig devised a scheme for converting trees from Brazil's Amazon forest to pulp and hauling it down the Amazon and to Japan on ocean-going barges. Now, some financial analysts in New York question the profitability of this investment. World pulp markets are glutted and prices have fallen sharply in the last 12 months.
"The romance with the tropics is over," said a company official. Speaking more bluntly, another official said: "The tropical forests are not worth a damn."
Company executives cite the "hassles" of doing business in the Third World. After long negotiations, International Paper Co. abandoned plans to build a plant in Honduras to make wooden crates and other products from the Central American country's abundant indigenous pine forests. Now bananas are shipped from Honduras in crates made from pine cut in the southern United States. 0043tts and 6 paper-n go lightly.
Retrenchment has been the word in the board rooms of the multipulps.In March, Potlatch, of San Francisco sold out its veneer plant at Assau, Western Samoa, to the Samoan government. The Samoan facility showed a "modest loss" in 1976, the company said. "Numerous problems" was the only explanation given by the company for its withdrawal.
Sales from their overseas plants are a minor part of most multipulps' overall operations. Only Container Corp. of America derives more than 25 per cent of its revenues from foreign activities.
Along with corporate disilusionment about the forest of the LDCs has come a radical and abrupt change in earlier projections pointing to future pulp shortages.
In September, an advisory committee of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization released a study reversing pessimistic forecasts made three years earlier which suggested that huge deficits in the world's pulp supply were on their way.
"Paper continues to be freely available to developing countries in the international market," the new study said. "No serious shortage of supply is foreseen in the immediate future."
The overall message of the FAO's study was that poor planning, inadequate investment and the low priority that many developing countries' governments assign to paper and packaging was the real reason for the lagging use of the products.
Experts in development problems view paper and packing as crucial, "socially strategic" commodities. Paper usage tends to reflect the level of a nation's economic development, although there are exceptions such as the Soviet Union, where per person use is only 75 pounds a year.
"Failure to provide for the growing demands for paper in the less developed countries seems likely to undercut much of the current efforts to expand mass education and increase literacy," says a widely circulated paper by private analysts Francis Method, of Cambridge, Mass.
Method said in a telephone interview last week that many developing country governments have drated ambitious plans to eradicate illiteracy without adequately planning for their paper needs.
The literacy drive alone is expected to generate huge new paper requirements. In 1970, there were an estimated 783 million illiterates, out of a global adult population of 2.2 billion.
Method estimates there will be 150 million additional "consumers of print" in the world in 10 years as a result of literacy efforts.
The developing nations are also heavily dependent on industry countries for their supplies of newsprint, a fact that has had political implications. During India's state of emergency from 1975 to 1977, the government controlled which papers got imported newspring, by licensing withdrawals of foreign currency needed to purchase it.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi "kept the big city papers newspring hungry and channeled the foreign currency to smaller papers," said the Washington correspondent for an Indian daily.
According to consultant Glenshaw, many governments of developing countries do not perceive that small investment in paper tend to become magnified in the economy. Yet these investments bring about extensive improvements in communication, and commodity distribution.
At a time when multinational corporations are under attack for their heavy involvement in foreign economics, the paper and packaging situation in the Third World suggests that negelect by these companies can also cause problems.
The FAO estimates that developing countries willincrease their consumption of paper from the present 11.8 million tons a year to between 28.7 million and 37.5 million tons by 1990.
Yet it is uncertain how the non-wealty world will reach these volumes.
The countries can step up imports - but this will leave them at the mercy of world price changes that temporarily drove paper costs beyond the reach of many of them in 1974.
Decision-makers in the multipulps are reluctant to invest hundreds of millions of dollar in modern paper and pulp plants in countries where paper consumption is minuscule. Zambia, for instance, uses only 25,000 tons of paper a year - not enough to justify building an installation costing se veral hundred million dollars.
Taking note of paper's importance, development officials at the United Nations are emphasizing investments in new kinds of smaller, cheaper plants relying on local paper making resources such as bamboo, straw, reeds, bagasse, kenaf and sisal. These materials don't produce quality paper, but they work, say the officials.
If paper and packaging demand continues to level off in developed countries, the multipulps could be inspired to step up their interests in the Third World. To some degree, that is already happening.