§ Mr. Greenway
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to increase food aid and technical advice and assistance on the growing of food; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Raison
One of the main objectives of the aid programme is to encourage food production in developing countries. We already emphasise aid for agriculture and food production in our bilateral programmes and we aim to increase this where we can. We also provide substantial assistance in this sector through our contributions to multilateral aid institutions and to the international agricultural research centres.
In 1984–85, £114 million was spent on food aid, £91 million of which represented the United Kingdom share of the European Community's programme. The Government believe that greater priority should be given within the EC programme to food aid for famine relief and that other improvements should be made to increase the programme's effectiveness. But food aid is not in most circumstances a cost-effective means of providing development aid, and excessive food aid can damage the interests of local producers. We do not therefore support an overall increase in it.