§ Mr. Spearing
asked the Minister of Overseas Development by what means, methods and agencies the results of research, undertaken by institutes financed wholly or in part by his Department, are developed into marketable machinery and techniques.
§ Mr. Prentice
The research programme of my Department is not specifically directed towards the production of marketable machinery or techniques. It does, however, provide new and basic knowledge from which machinery and techniques can be developed and marketed in poor countries. Similarly, research into economic techniques for the handling of developing countries' problems provides a basis on which private consultant firms may capitalise.
The results of the research programme are made generally available through the scientific literature or by report or advice to overseas Governments or institutions; and in order to disseminate new techniques, seminars, conferences and training courses are frequently organised both at overseas centres and in the United Kingdom; for example, the Transport and Road Research Laboratory is holding a one-day seminar on 5th May to explain and discuss its recently developed Road Transport Investment Model, which had been specifically designed to cater for the needs of the Third World.
Where development work financed by my Ministry suggests that the end product may usefully be distributed as a marketable commodity it is assigned to 598W the National Research Development Corporation, the statutory body which promotes and licenses Government inventions.
§ Mr. Spearing
asked the Minister of Overseas Development if he will list at least two examples of successful marketing of machinery or techniques, suitable for use in typical conditions found in the Third or Fourth Worlds, developed in each of the following institutions: Tropical Products Institute, Tropical Stored Products Centre, Transport and Road Research Laboratory, Building Research Station, National Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Water Research Centre, respectively; and state for each of the centres concerned the number of marketable projects actually launched by developments from each centre, and the numbers which have failed to find an outlet.
§ Mr. Prentice
Some typical examples are listed belowTropical Products Institute and its Tropical Stored Products CentreCashew nut processing plant, commercially produced and marketed by a British firm under licence from the NRDC.A whole-grain infestation detector, commercially produced and marketed by a British firm on a royalty basis.Design of a still for essential oils; drawings and technique given free under technical assistance to Dominica, where production has been undertaken.Plant for producing "instant yam" powder. Drawings made available to various countries which are now producing the plant..Transport and Road Research Laboratory (Overseas Unit)Development of a portable weighbridge, usable at roadsides for measuring wheel loads of commercial vehicles. Produced in the United Kingdom and widely marketed in developing countries.A technique for deciding the thickness and geometry of roads in developing countries now in use for economic feasibility studies for roads in a number of developing countries.A technique, now in extensive use, for designing low cost roads carrying medium and heavy traffic.Building Research Establishment (Overseas Division)Equipment for the production of concrete panels (BRECAST) for buildings. Kit produced in the United Kingdom and sold already to Algeria and Indonesia. Other countries are also interested.Introduction of Portland cement manufacture in Uganda, based upon techniques evolved 599W by the Station for the use of phosphatic limestone as a raw material.National Institute of Agricultural Engineering (Overseas Department)A small thresher for cereals and leguminous crops, produced in the United Kingdom and marketed extensively overseas.A simple animal drawn toolbar designed to carry a range of tillage equipment and a cart body, produced in the United Kingdom and supplied to agricultural projects in developing countries.
The Water Research Centre is the research arm of the British water authorities, and has no direct connection with my Ministry.
I regret that I cannot give the precise figures requested in the second half of my hon. Friend's Question. Techniques evolved to meet specific or localised problems may be successful but not generally marketable: other products which do not find an immediate outlet may yet be adopted at a later date.