Africa: Agricultural Aid

House of Lords written question – answered at on 2 November 2010.

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Photo of Lord Boateng Lord Boateng Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role of agriculture in post-conflict stabilisation; and what steps they have taken to promote joint working across government in meeting the needs of post-conflict countries in Africa.

Photo of Baroness Verma Baroness Verma Lords Spokesperson (Home Office) (Equalities and Women's Issues), Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Department for International Development)

The experience of the UK and our international partners in post-conflict environments is that economic interventions, including in agriculture, can be an important tool for stabilisation. Addressing short-term economic needs by rehabilitating infrastructure, procuring from local markets or resolving property disputes can help change perceptions, relationships and behaviours and provide incentives against violence. Early interventions to create jobs can deliver a critical peace dividend, and create the political space to address underlying conflict drivers.

The strategic defence and security review recognises the need to tackle instability and conflict overseas, including in Africa, through an integrated approach across government. The forthcoming Building Stability Overseas strategy, to be published in March 2011, will address this in greater detail. We already carry out joint conflict analysis across government to inform our strategies, most recently in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. The Africa programme of the tri-departmental conflict pool remains an important means of strengthening collaboration between the Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence.

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