HC Deb 15 March 2004 vol 419 cc33-4W
Tom Brake

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's policy is on helping Ugandan crop growers share the benefits of that country's economic growth. [159843]

Hilary Benn

In rural Uganda the main constraint on the farming community's ability to share the benefits of economic growth is the failure of markets to provide good information, farm inputs, and outlets for increased farm production. DFID's policy is to address this market failure by supporting public investment in the provision of the goods and services that underpin agricultural development.

The UK supports the Uganda Government's Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA). The PMA is a framework for Government action in support of smallholder farming households. It directs public resources to ensure that markets operate effectively and provides farmers with access to both agricultural inputs and markets for agricultural produce. Government institutions charged with agricultural service provision have been restructured to ensure they respond effectively to the demands of farmers. PMA priorities include the provision of better information through agricultural research and advice from Government extension workers; the provision of financial services; and physical investment, for example on rural feeder roads, to improve access to markets. Smallholders are supported in accessing regional and international markets. DFID has been closely involved in the design and implementation of the PMA.

Improved export opportunities will be particularly important in the development of Uganda's agricultural sector. We have funded a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening Uganda's trade policy and access to wider international markets.

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