HC Deb 16 February 1976 vol 905 cc935-7
46. Mr. Hooky

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what progress is being made to put into effect the three major recommendations of the World Food Conference—that is, an International Fund of Agricultural Development, a system of world food stocks and a ministerial level World Food Council.

Mr. John Grant

The World Food Council has been established and the United Kingdom is a member of it. The first meeting of Ministers took place in June 1975. The second meeting is expected to be held in mid-June this year. The question of a system of world food stocks is primarily the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. This subject is under consideration in a number of international fora, in all of which we are playing an active part. As regards the International Fund for Agricultural Development, it is hoped that a meeting under the auspices of the United Nations will be held to inaugurate the fund in May of this year.

Mr. Hooky

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for that information. Will he say what contribution has been made by the European Economic Community to the International Fund and the food stock problem?

Mr. Grant

Agreement on the principle of EEC participation has not yet been reached. We support the International Fund for Agricultural Development and we have said that we shall contribute. We are working within the Community in the hope that it will agree with our approach. We are also working within the Community to arrive at a suitable formula for world food stocks.

Mrs. Dunwoody

Will my hon. Friend try again with the Communty rather more urgently? He will be aware that the present agricultural system is contributing to the number of food aid stocks and that there has been a decision to limit the amount which shall be given in food aid to under-developed countries. Will he make a greater effort to get his hands on the surpluses for practical reasons?

Mr. Grant

My right hon. Friend has been listening to my hon. Friend's supplementary question, and I am sure that when he goes to the next meeting of the Development Ministers, which we hope will not be very long from now, he wil bear in mind what she has said and press urgently for this development.

Mr. Douglas-Mann

Will my hon. Friend give an assurance that the proposal for world food stocks is receiving vigorous support from the Government and that the Government will be supporting the entire list of proposed commodities for such stocks?

Mr. Grant

No, I cannot give my hon. Friend the assurance that we shall be supporting the entire list. The Government believe that a selective approach is necessary, but in the various international fora we shall be pursuing vigorously—in fact, we are already doing so—the initiative outlined by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister at Kingston, Jamaica.

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