HC Deb 18 February 1988 vol 127 c687W
Mr. David Nicholson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much food aid from European Community surplus stocks of cereals was sent abroad in the last three years; to which countries and in what amounts; what was the cost of transporting and administering the total amount of food aid; and what obstacles he sees to expanding food aid from European Community surpluses.

Mr. Chris Patten

The European Community has allocated over 1 million tonnes of cereals as food aid in each of the last three years; over 90 per cent. of it has been obtained from sources within the Community. Detailed statistics are included in the European Commission's annual report on food aid policy and management. The 1984 report was deposited with the Select Committee on European Legislation on 30 July 1987, and is available in the Library of the House. The 1985 and 1986 reports will be deposited shortly, when they are circulated by the Commission.

The European Commission has reported expenditure on the transport of food aid (not only cereals) in 1986 as £68 million. Figures for transporting cereals alone, and for the cost of administering food aid, are not separately recorded.

Provision of food aid from the EC is fully justified in famine situations. However, in the longer term food aid will not solve the problem of continuing food shortages in developing countries; production by local farmers must be encouraged. Food aid may increase demand for imported foodstuffs which can never be produced locally and hamper efforts to encourage local food production in recipient countries.