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Rural Developments

Volume 976: debated on Wednesday 16 January 1980

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30.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what projects for rural development have been approved during the last five months.

Two major rural development projects have been approved since July 1979. This brings to 10 the total of such projects initiated in the first nine months of the current financial year. I am arranging for these projects to be listed in the Official Report.

I thank the Minister for that information. Has he seen the report of the American Commission on World Hunger which predicts that within 20 years there will be acute starvation and malnutrition in the Third world unless measures are taken to step up food production in those countries? Will he redouble his efforts and the aid that he gives to rural agriculture in underdeveloped countries?

It would be difficult to double the amount of aid that we give on these rural projects. The share of bilateral aid committed to the poorest countries, where this is very much one of the main projects, has exceeded 60 per cent. in recent years. However, I agree that the emphasis should be placed in the way the hon. Gentleman suggests.

Since India is the principal recipient of British overseas aid, will my hon. Friend look for an early opportunity to have discussions with the new Government? Is he aware that there are a number of rural projects there where British aid could materially assist in improving food production?

Yes. I hope to do so in March, but already this year there are four projects going ahead for rural development in India.

Following is the information:

APPROVALS OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN 1979–80 FINANCAL YEAR

Date of approval

Country

Project title£m.
5 April 1979Nepal Khosi Hill area development programme (Khardep)5·76
3 May 1979IndiaFoot and mouth disease vaccine plant7·3
17May 1979PeruCajamaraca agricultural development project1·22
14June 1979SudanSouth Darfur savannah project4·63
14June 1979SudanSouthern region agricultural project9·24
21 June 1979IndiaKanpur fertiliser plant7·7
12July 1979IndiaEarthmoving equipment17·0
26 July 1979JordanIRBID rural electrification3·5
6 September 1979IndiaOrissa family welfare10·84
7 November 1979TanzaniaRural water supplies1·4
68·59