§ 30. Mr. Michael Spicer
asked the Minister for Overseas Development whether it remains his policy that British funds will be used only for the purchase of "mixed" British-owned farms in Tanzania.
§ Mr. Prentice
It has been agreed between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania that British project aid funds will be made available to the Tanzanian Government for the development of British-occupied mixed farms. Purchase is only the first step towards such development.
§ Mr. Spicer
Is the Minister aware that British farmers in Tanzania believe that the United Kingdom Government have ratted on a commitment made at Arusha on 28th November 1974 under which British farmers whose land was to be expropriated would be compensated? Does he accept that that kind of precedent is very dangerous since a similar commitment might have to be made one day to white farmers in Rhodesia?
§ Mr. Prentice
I do not accept that premise. At the meeting to which the hon. Member referred, Mr. Mungai, who was then the Tanzanian Minister of Agriculture, expressed the intention of the Tanzanian Government to take over the 1278 ownership of British-owned farms in general. That policy involved no commitment to an aid programme. There has since been an agreement that we should apply aid funds to the purchase of mixed farms because we believe that category to be the most relevant to development. Taking over these farms will promote more intensive use of the land, and that is conducive to the rural development of Tanzania, whereas the simple transfer of ownership of a ranch or plantation would not have that effect.