Skip to main content

Malawi (Forestry Project)

Volume 959: debated on Monday 4 December 1978

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she remains satisfied with the proposed level of British commercial participation in the future exploitation of the British funded Vipyha forestry plantation project in Malawi.

I understand that no definite decisions about participation have yet been taken by any commercial interests, which, of course, are not my responsibility.

Does this not go back to the previous Question? Have not the Malawians expressed some surprise that a British funded project should be attracting so little interest from British firms in terms of subsequent commercial exploitation? Why should the Germans and other countries have been making all the running on a British project?

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman is quite right in his assessment. It is not that any other countries, or firms from other countries, are expressing great interest in the project. As I understand it, although this is not directly within my responsibility, Malawi has not yet managed to interest anyone in the commercial viability of the pulp mills that would follow from our forestry interests. I hope that it will succeed in doing so. Indeed, I hope that our own firms will get involved. But it is commercial viability that is involved, not competition from other countries.