Previous Section Index Home Page


22 Oct 2002 : Column 188W—continued

Southern Africa

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken to ensure that short term food aid in southern Africa does not damage local food markets. [75056]

Clare Short: Humanitarian food aid into southern Africa will only meet 30 per cent. of the estimated 4 million tonne cereal deficit faced by the region. The commercial sector and governments are expected to import and distribute the bulk of the food requirements. Although some Governments are subsidising maize prices to keep them stable, prices are at historical highs throughout the region. As imports will be insufficient to build up stocks prices will remain high until the next harvest expected from April 2003. Local food prices next year will be determined by the size of the harvest.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on progress towards the diversification of farming in southern Africa. [75058]

Clare Short: Uncertainties and interference by governments in maize pricing and input supplies have resulted in many farmers planting a wider range of crops. Although most smallholders still plant maize, more are moving into cash crops that provide higher returns. DFID supports recovery programmes in southern Africa which are supplying seeds and planting materials for a range of crops including maize that will reduce the reliance on a single staple and ensure a wider and more varied diet.

22 Oct 2002 : Column 189W

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations she has made to (a) European Union countries and (b) other foreign donors calling for increased funding for the United Nations Consolidated Appeal for the Southern African famine. [75054]

Clare Short: My officials have been in regular touch with representatives of donor agencies at country level to encourage adequate responses and I have had informal discussions with Ministers from the European Union and beyond.

Malawi

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions her Department has had with the (a) IMF and (b) World Bank regarding the curtailment of a starter pack scheme for smallholder farmers in Malawi. [74883]

Clare Short: The Starter Pack Scheme has been replaced by the Targeted Inputs Programme financed by my Department and the Norwegian Government. The IMF and World Bank are fully aware of Malawi TIP arrangements, and that in 2002, the number of beneficiary poor farmer households, has been doubled to 2 million.

Nepal

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the food insecurity in Nepal has improved in recent months; whether she expects a humanitarian crisis in the mid and far west regions of Nepal to materialise; and if she will make a statement. [75111]

Clare Short: It is extremely difficult at present to obtain accurate information on the food situation in the hill districts of the Mid and Far West of Nepal, which have traditionally been areas of food insecurity. Recent reports suggest that food supply in those parts of the country has been affected by the poor monsoon this year, the migration of young men from conflict affected areas, and restrictions on movements and on the supply of food by Maoist and Government security forces. For example, in some mountain districts we estimate the millet crop will be only 80per cent. of normal levels.

It is too early to say that there will be a humanitarian crisis in the Mid and Far West of the country. The greatest need at present is for more reliable information. DFID is monitoring the situation closely. DFID recently provided #115,000 to increase the capacity of the World Food Programme's Vulnerability and Monitoring Unit. We are also closely in touch with other organisations monitoring the situation including the UNDP, the International Nepal Fellowship and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In September I wrote, on behalf of Utstein ministers, to the Prime Minister of Nepal expressing concern over the situation and urging the Government to relax restrictions on the supply of food and medicines to conflict affected districts. The recent meeting of the international community in Kathmandu hosted by the PUSS FCO on 11 October also urged the removal of these restrictions.

22 Oct 2002 : Column 190W

Poverty Relief

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial aid has been given to the national Governments of (a) Mozambique and (b) Botswana from (i) her Department, (ii) the European Union and (iii) the World Bank, in each year since 1999; and what efforts are being made to ensure that such aid is used effectively for the benefit of those in extreme poverty. [75070]

Clare Short: DFID's country programme expenditure was as follows:

#000'S

1998–991999–002000–012001–02
Mozambique26,28143,89341,28141,022
of which financial aid20,10725,15020,42630,891
Botswana3,2753,0452,4812,002
of which financial aid54514946

Latest available figures for European Commission and World Bank expenditure are:


#000,000's

19992000
ECWorld BankECWorld Bank
Mozambique55.148.252.162.1
Botswana10.80.32.90.3

DFID's funds are spent in accordance with country strategies which focus on key poverty reduction priorities. Our strategy for Mozambique is now closely aligned with Mozambique's own poverty reduction plan, agreed last year. Our strategy for Botswana has recently been incorporated within a broader regional strategy for the middle-income countries of Southern Africa.


John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial aid has been given to the national Government of Namibia from (a) her Department, (b) the European Union and (c) the World Bank every year since 1999, and what efforts are being made to ensure that such aid is used effectively for the benefit of those in extreme poverty. [75052]

Clare Short: DFID's expenditure in Namibia was as follows:

#000's
1998–991999–002000–012001–02
3,8613,5712,7122,017
of which financial aid0000

Latest available figures for the European Commission are:


#000,000's
19992000
28.729.9

There has been no significant World Bank financial aid since 1999.

DFID's funds are spent in accordance with country strategies which focus on key poverty reduction priorities. DFID's strategy for Namibia has recently been incorporated within a broader regional strategy for the middle-income countries of Southern Africa.


22 Oct 2002 : Column 191W

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when her Department's study of the linkages between wildlife and poverty will be completed; and what the terms of reference of the study are. [74877]

Clare Short: The Final Report of the Wildlife and Poverty Study, funded by my Department, should be available to DFID within the next fortnight, and for wider consultation thereafter. The Terms of Reference for Phase 2 of the Study will be placed in the Library of the House.

World Food Programme

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list, by donor country, the contributions made to (a) the World Food Programme and (b) the UNHCR donor appeals for Afghanistan. [74878]

Clare Short: The general funding situation for humanitarian appeals are currently relatively well-funded—between 75 per cent. and 90 per cent. for the larger UN agencies I have placed in the library of the House of Commons details of the contributions made to WFP and UNHCR by donor countries.

Flight Budgets

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what percentage of each division's budget has been spent on flights in each year since 1999; [74900]

Clare Short: Information in the format requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Information on flight spend held centrally by my Department's contracted travel agent is as follows:




These figures do not include travel costs incurred by overseas offices booked through an overseas travel agent.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what advice is given to her Department's staff when booking flights with regard to (a) price and (b) budget. [74899]

Clare Short: In accordance with my Department's policy, staff will book the most efficient and economical means of travel, taking into account the full range of costs involved, to meet business needs.

22 Oct 2002 : Column 192W

DFID's travel agent is contracted to provide a value for money service to staff including, where available, a choice of flights and costs. The travel agent also provides staff with advice on centrally negotiated government airfares.

All official travel is authorised at appropriate levels to check for compliance with policy and budget.


Next Section Index Home Page