HC Deb 29 June 1967 vol 749 cc724-5
12. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister of Overseas Development why the British grant to the Agricultural Research Council in Salisbury, Rhodesia, has been terminated; and what effects this will have on the development of African farming.

Mr. Bottomley

Zambia is withdrawing from the Agricultural Research Council of Central Africa, of which the other members are Rhodesia and Malawi. We could net agree to continue to support on a two-country basis a Council whose work would be located almost wholly in Rhodesia.

The research so far undertaken by the Council will be published and will be available for the benefit of African farmers. The extent to which the work can continue will depend upon retention of staff and provision of research facilities.

Mr. Wall

Is not this a wholly political decision. forcing the centre to close to the detriment of all farming in Central Africa'? Can the right hon. Gentleman say, for example, how the animal productivity study, which is so important to Zambia, will be continued?

Mr. Bottomley

The original undertaking was that support should be given to this institution, which was being worked on a three-country basis. Now that that no longer operates, it is up to the Government to see the best possible way in which we can further the interests of all the countries concerned, and we think that it can be done best by recognising that it is time we ought not to support the activities of an illegal régime.