HC Deb 15 February 1962 vol 653 cc1494-5
4. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what steps he is taking to dispatch supplies of British-produced milk products to Tanganyika to relieve the famine there.

Mr. Braine

None, Sir. My right hon. Friend has received no request from the Government of Tanganyika for food to relieve the famine there. I would, however, refer the hon. Lady to the reply given to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) on Monday, 12th February.

Mrs. Castle

That is a rather pedantic reply. Is it not the fact that hunger and malnutrition are endemic in those areas? Would it not be better if, instead of our trying to cut down milk production in this country, we were to give British farmers their head, and then process any surplus milk for distribution in the hungry areas of the world?

Mr. Braine

The hon. Lady is forgetting that the problem is not merely one of food but one of distribution also. The United States Government have provided very large tonnages of food, but the problem in the conditions following the floods was how to distribute this food—and here I refer again to the Answer given to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington. It was to transport food to places cut off by floods that Royal Air Force transport was made available. We were able to provide that very quickly, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has already received the warm thanks of the Prime Minister of Tanganyika.