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Brandt Commission Report

Volume 982: debated on Thursday 17 April 1980

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his Department's response to the recommendation in the Brandt commission report regarding the need for greater self-sufficiency in food-importing countries.

This recommendation, like others made by the Brandt commission, will be considered at meetings of the United Nations and other international bodies over the coming months and years. We support the expansion of agricultural production in the United Kingdom with a view to reducing food import needs and our policies are directed towards that end.

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that world population growth and the need for increased international supplies of food will present opportunities for the export of British agricultural technology and machinery? Will he tell the House whether the British Agricultural Export Council will be able to play a constructive part in that process?

Although the primary responsibility for Third world aid does not lie with my Department, it may be of interest to know that the BAEC sent trade missions last year to the Philippines, Malaysia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Venezuela and Columbia, all of which would qualify as Third world countries.

Will the Minister agree that one of the most valuable contributions of self-sufficiency in agriculture would be for us to eat our own sheep-meat, rather than send it to France?