§ Mr. Hooley
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what particular action has been taken by the United Kingdom in the past 18 months to alleviate food shortage problems in the Sahel region of Africa.
§ Mr. Neil Marten
The United Kingdom has provided a total of 2,090 tonnes of rice for Sahel countries from its bilateral food aid programme for 1981–520 tonnes for Senegal, 700 tonnes for the Gambia and 870 tonnes for Mali—at a cost of about £450,000. Mali is to receive a further consignment of rice of the order of 870 tonnes from the 1982 programme.
Under bilateral technical co-operation arrangements, the United Kingdom has provided two experts for Mali on short-term grain stock storage who completed their assignments in 1981, and an expert on longer-term grain storage is now under recruitment. Three experts—a weed specialist, a soil scientist and a translator of agricultural technical documents—are also currently serving under bilateral technical co-operation with the Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Senegal (OMVS), an organisation engaged in a variety of agricultural and related development projects in the Senegal river basin of benefit to Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.
Additionally, the United Kingdom participates in the European Community's food aid programme, under which 73,000 tonnes of cereals, 4,250 tonnes of dried skimmed milk and 1,650 tonnes of butter oil costing about £12 million were allocated to Sahel countries in 1981.
The United Kingdom also contributes to the resources of the world food programme, which is active in the Sahel region.