From Mr D. J. Dixon

Sir: Your leading article "A moral imperative to help the poor" (18 September) deplores the possible cut in the overseas aid budget. May I draw your attention to a recent report from the International Food Policy Research Institute, which looks at the long-term effect of cutting the US aid budget.

The study shows that US foreign aid actually benefits the donor country more than the recipient, because it creates jobs in the US. According to the study, each dollar invested in agricultural research in a developing country increases its import of additional goods and services by more than $4. The same will apply to the UK and other industrialised countries. Overseas aid thus expands the world export market.

To continue aid because developed countries will gain more than developing countries may sound selfish, but in the present economic climate that is the only argument that may convince governments not to slash their foreign aid budget.

Yours faithfully,

D. J. Dixon

Melbury Osmond, Dorset

18 September

The writer is producer of `The Farming World', BBC World Service.