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Developing Countries: Agriculture

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government have taken to provide aid to developing countries targeted at poor farmers who are living at subsistence level. (212610)

The Department for International Development (DFID) believes that poor farmers, if properly supported, have the potential to contribute significantly to reducing hunger and poverty by growing food for their families and the immediate community. This also contributes to overall economic growth. At the recent Rome Food Summit the UK called on all donors, other international organisations, developing country governments, the private sector and civil society to double our efforts to tackle hunger and poverty under a Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food (GPAF). DFID works directly on agriculture in more than 20 countries, investing £120 million a year. In Africa and Asia DFID also supports a range of social protection programmes. In Africa alone we spend £55 million a year on rural safety nets which deliver social transfers to 8 million poor farmers.

An increasing amount of DFID’s funding is now going through multilateral channels. The European Commission and the World Bank are both significantly increasing the amount that they are committing to agriculture. This year’s World Development Report, published by the World Bank, supported by DFID through funding and technical inputs, is devoted to the subject of agriculture and development. It highlights the need to provide support to poor farmers, and to provide alternative income opportunities in rural areas. DFID is also a leading supporter of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme, CAADP, an Africa-led initiative looking to find the best ways of addressing the primary millennium development goal target of poverty and hunger.