HC Deb 14 January 2004 vol 416 cc776-7W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department has given to Malawi in 2003–04 to deal with food shortages; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of its use. [147347]

Mr. Gareth Thomas

DFID has committed 1 3 million to assist Malawi with food security in financial year 2003–04. This aid will pay for improved seeds and fertilizers for over 2 million poor households, pay-for-work schemes for rural poor, feeding programmes for the most vulnerable groups and strengthening management in Malawi's safety net programmes and food crisis early warning systems. DFID also works closely in this area with the World Bank and the European Commission which plans to spend £14 million on food security this year.

Thorough evaluations of the largest schemes are made on a regular basis. DFID's seed and fertilizer scheme shows very high returns. The pay-for-work scheme needs some changes to improve targeting and sustainability. The food crisis early warning system is steadily improving and should meet the information needs identified in the 2001–02 food crisis.