HC Deb 05 July 1939 vol 349 c1301
61. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the serious nature of the problem of soil erosion in East Africa, he will arrange for an expert to report upon the position with the view of deciding upon further measures to deal with the problem?

Mr. M. MacDonald

The problem of soil erosion in East Africa has received the careful attention of experienced officers of the Governments, some of whom have been afforded opportunities to study control measures in the Union of South Africa and the United States of America. It also received special consideration from my Agricultural Adviser during his visit to East Africa two years ago, and the particular problems of some areas in Kenya have recently been re-examined by Dr. Pole-Evans, an authority from the Department of Agriculture, Union of South Africa. Control measures against soil erosion have already been initiated in some areas, and others are under consideration, with a view to a programme of work being drawn up. In these circumstances I do not think that there would be advantage in a further inquiry of the nature suggested.

Mr. Mathers

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that very little real progress is being made in dealing with this problem in the light of the extent of it and that there is very great need for hastening matters before the position becomes very much worse?

Mr. MacDonald

I do agree that there is a great deal of work still to be done, and it is the intention of the Government to press ahead as widely and as rapidly as possible.

Mr. Creech Jones

Will the right hon. Gentleman endeavour to secure an increase in the personnel responsible for this kind of work?

Mr. MacDonald

If there is such a shortage of personnel as to hold up the work I will certainly consider the possibility of that being remedied.