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Developing Countries: Agriculture

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the findings and options of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development reports to be presented to the Intergovernmental Plenary; and what steps he plans to take in tackling hunger, rural poverty and environmental degradation in the light of that assessment. (199555)

The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is a unique assessment involving governments, civil society and academics. The IAASTD reports are a useful contribution to the debate and understanding on agricultural knowledge, science and technology and its potential to reduce poverty and hunger around the world. Given increasing food prices and their impact on poor people they are also very timely. However, while presenting an overall consensus the IAASTD reports do reflect a diversity of views on some issues, for example on modern biotechnology.

My Department will be considering the options presented by the IAASTD and the implications this has for the UK’s support to developing countries on agricultural research to help tackle hunger, rural poverty and environmental degradation. Many of the issues raised by the IAASTD, for example land degradation and impact of agricultural trade on poor farmers have already been identified by DFID, and are highlighted in our new five year research strategy which I launched on 22 April.