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Afghanistan

Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 12th January 2011.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee 11:30 am, 12th January 2011

What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the delivery of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan The Minister of State, Department for International Development

In 2010, international humanitarian aid to Afghanistan fed 3.5 million people, helped 100,000 refugees and built 22,000 emergency shelters. DFID provides support to the International Committee of the Red Cross, to assist families affected by conflict and to provide medical care. As for potential problems this year, we are closely monitoring rain and snowfall levels and would work with the international community to respond to any problem caused by water shortages.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

I congratulate the Department on that achievement. Does humanitarian aid extend to the possibility of finding crops to substitute for poppies, to enable Afghanistan to have a proper income and become completely self-sufficient?

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan The Minister of State, Department for International Development

The answer is yes. DFID's programmes seek to establish sustainable long-term solutions to poppy growing by promoting access to agricultural credit, releasing uncultivated land for productive use and strengthening access to markets for local producers. We are also trying to encourage farmers to grow different crops with a higher market value, including, for instance, pomegranates.

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Labour, Glasgow Central

The Government announced in the strategic defence review and in the comprehensive spending review that 30% of aid will go to fragile states. What proportion of aid will go to Afghanistan?

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan The Minister of State, Department for International Development

The amounts going to Afghanistan will be significantly increased, but the exact amounts will be announced in due course, when we have completed the multilateral and bilateral review process, which should be announced in the next few months.