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World Food Supplies

Volume 982: debated on Thursday 17 April 1980

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consideration has been given to proposals to liberalise trade in food and other agricultural products within and between Northern and Southern regions of the world as a contribution to the stabilisation of world food supplies.

Considerable reductions in tariff and other barriers to agricultural trade between the European Community and the developing countries have been made under the GATT multilateral trade negotiations, the generalised system of preferences and the Lomé convention.

In view of the fact, according to the Brandt commission, that in 1978, 12 million children under the age of 5 died of starvation, would it not be better for Britain, rather than giving over £1 billion to the ridiculous common agricultural policy, to think in terms of a world food policy and to help underdeveloped areas through increased aid?

The matter of overseas aid—that is what the hon. Gentleman's question is really about—is not one for my Department.

Can my hon. Friend give any indication of when he thinks the agricultural price review will be settled in Brussels? Is he aware that delay in announcing prices is not facilitating trade and is causing extreme difficulties in regard to cereals and pulse foods.

I am sorry to disappoint my hon. Friend. I do not possess a crystal ball. I do not believe anyone can answer that question.