CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DFID – AFGHANISTAN & POPPY ERADICATION – 11 February 2009

Dr Julian Lewis: Within the past few days, there have been reports of a rift developing between a senior American commander at NATO headquarters, who wants to go back to a more aggressive policy of eradication of poppy by force, and the senior American theatre commander who, rightly, wants to ensure that it is a matter of incentives not crude, counter-productive methods. Will the Minister and his colleagues do everything that they can to convey which side of the argument we are on to our American friends and allies?

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr Michael Foster): I am not aware of the specific discussions that the hon. Gentleman refers to, but there is an $11 million programme to incentivise farmers to move from poppy to wheat growing. DFID has supported it with some $8 million, and the United States Agency for International Development, the development body of the US Government, has contributed the remaining $3 million.]