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Afghanistan: Overseas Aid

Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support the UK gives to the purchase of seed and fertiliser for Afghan farmers; and if he will make a statement. (127066)

In 2005 DFID contributed £3 million towards a USAID Agriculture Inputs Supply Programme worth $25 million. This programme helped poor and vulnerable farmers across all 34 provinces of Afghanistan gain improved access to subsidised agricultural inputs in order to increase their production of legal crops. The programme has distributed 40,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser and nearly 15,000 tonnes of seed (wheat, potato, onion and carrots) to 537,000 farmers in all 34 provinces.

DFID and USAID found the programme could be made sustainable into the longer-term by supporting input supplies and offering farmers access to credit. USAID now has an input supply programme and DFID is a major donor to the Micro-Finance Investment Support Facility of Afghanistan (MISFA). This offers small loans to poor people, including farmers, who would otherwise not have access to credit. DFID is providing £20 million to MISFA over a three year period.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much humanitarian aid was successfully delivered to Afghanistan in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. (126070)

According to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the following has been contributed to the humanitarian effort in Afghanistan over the last three years.

USD $

2004

162,366,273

2005

79,906,460

2006

153,181,425

DFID’s programme in Afghanistan has gradually shifted from humanitarian assistance in the immediate post-conflict environment (£44 million in 2001) to longer-term, sustainable development support to the Government of Afghanistan. We now focus on three key areas; building effective state institutions; improving economic management and the effectiveness with which the Afghan Government uses aid; and improving the livelihoods of rural people.

This year DFID has is providing £1 million for drought mitigation, to fund NGOs working with the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) on water and sanitation projects in the most affected areas. DFID has also provided £30,000 in food aid and other essential items for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Helmand. The UN has estimated that around 2,800 families have been displaced. UK officials are monitoring the situation and we are currently assured that basic needs are being met.

DFID also supports HALO’s de-mining programme in Afghanistan, worth £1.2 million in 2006-07.