HC Deb 27 October 1943 vol 393 c178
41. Mr. Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the difficulties that have arisen in Kenya in consequence of the low price paid for African-grown maize, as compared with the much higher price paid for that grown by Europeans, and to the complaints made before the Food Commission with regard to black-market operations, and whether he will make a statement on the working of maize control and the steps which will be taken to remove the disparity in price between maize grown by Africans and by Europeans, respectively?

Colonel Stanley

There is no difference in the basic price paid for maize whether grown by Africans or by Europeans except on grounds of quality; and the differentiation in this respect amounts to 25 cents. per 200 lbs. The apparently greater disparity in price is due to the additional costs borne by the European grower, who sells free on rail in 200 lb. bags, while the African sells his maize loose at marketing centres which may be many miles from the railway. The Commission of inquiry into the food shortage and the system of maize control is expected to report very shortly. In the meantime it would be premature for me to make a statement.

Mr. Harvey

Were not representations made that the lower price paid for native-grown maize has resulted in a falling-off in production, which is very undesirable, and will my right hon. and gallant Friend continue to make it clear that it is the quality of the maize and not the colour of the growers that is important?

Colonel Stanley

Representations may have been made, but I think we had better await the report of the Commission to see whether they consider those representations justified.

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