HC Deb 15 December 1964 vol 704 cc196-7
21. Mr. Crawley

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what proposals she has to revive the concept of a world food board for the disposal of agricultural surpluses.

Mrs. Castle

The co-existence of actual and potential agricultural surpluses in developed countries with the hunger and poverty in many parts of the world clearly presents a challenge and an opportunity.

It is the intention of the Government to examine all approaches to this problem, including the concept of a world food board, in order to ensure that any surplus distribution is directed to promoting the economic development of the recipient countries.

Mr. Crawley

Is the right hon. Lady aware that disposal of these surpluses is already being carried out by the United Nations through the World Food Programme, and being carried out in a way which is helping indigenous agriculture in developing countries? Is it not better to support the United Nations in its programme than to set up some new body?

Mrs. Castle

We are examining these problems in the context of the World Food Programme, which is to be reviewed during 1965. I think that the Question referred to wider purposes than the World Food Programme, and we feel that it is right, in collaboration with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, to consider these wider purposes.

Mr. Prior

Is the right hon. Lady aware that her original reply will cause disappointment to many of her right hon. and hon. Friends, because have they not for years been pushing out this idea of a world food plan, and has not she contradicted it this afternoon, or at any rate delayed it for many months, and why?

Mrs. Castle

I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's statements. We fully support the aims and purposes underlying the concept of a world food board as originated by Lord Boyd Orr in 1946, but it is simply a question of finding the best means of securing those objects in present circumstances.

Mr. Soames

Will the right hon. Lady say what is the difference, as she sees it, between the duties and responsibilities of the World Food Programme, which is in existence at the moment, and the world

£ million
1961 1962 1963
Total Bilateral economic Aid (gross) 155.4 143.1 138.9
Total Multilateral Aid 6.5 7.2 18.9
Total Private Investment for Developing Countries 92 68 [70–90]
253.9 218.3 [227.8–247.8]
[ ] estimated