HL Deb 20 October 1987 vol 489 cc108-9WA
Baroness Gardner of Parkes

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have received the second report from the Priorities Board for Research and Development.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Trumpington)

The Priorities Board for Research and Development in Agriculture and Food has submitted its second report to the Agriculture Ministers and to the chairman of the Agricultural and Food Research Council. We greatly appreciate the work which Sir Kenneth Durham and the members of the board have put into their report.

The report gives advice to the sponsors about future resource allocations and priorities for the publicly-funded agricultural and food R&D effort as a whole. It also discusses a number of matters related to the R&D programme. The board considers that the allocations suggested in its first report remain generally appropriate, but it recommends an increase in the percentage allocation of resources to the nonfood crops sector. This reflects the board's view of the importance of diversification in agriculture and, in particular, of farm forestry as an alternative enterprise. The increased allocation is intended to allow for a larger programme in this area.

The sponsors are agreed that, subject to a full consideration of the resource implications, the recommendations should guide the allocation of resources to the future research and development programme. Discussions will be held between the sponsors to plan the implementation of the recommendations. The sponsors have also agreed that the report should be published. This is now being arranged and advance copies are being placed in the Library of the House.