§ Mr. Hooley
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action has been taken by the Government to help implement the World Food Conference resolution on internationally co-ordinated national stockpiles of grain.
§ Mr. Peart
The Government have recently advised the Director-General of the FAO that they are prepared to co-operate in the implementation of the objectives, policies and guidelines contained in the International Undertaking on World Food Security, which was endorsed by the World Food Conference, and which envisages international co-ordination of national grain stocks.
There are many practical difficulties which need to be resolved before the stockholding provisions of the under-taking can be implemented and the Government are participating in international discussions with the aim of resolving them. In common with the rest of the European Community, we are ready in the context of the present multilateral trade negotiations to negotiate commodity agreements for a number of basic food-stuffs, including cereals, which would include provisions for stockpiling linked with price provisions with the object of stabilising the market. Such agreements would help to meet the requirements of that part of the international undertaking relating to stocks. The International Wheat Council, to which Community Governments belong, has set up a group to examine the implications of introducing a new International Wheat Agreement. Within the FAO, work is proceeding on the examination of technical problems involved in stockpiling.
These are complex matters and some of them will take time to negotiate but there is every prospect of positive results.