§ 38. Mr. Rees-Williams
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what plans have been made and what action has been taken to secure a. greater acreage under cultivation in British Malaya than in the past for the production of rice.
§ Mr. George Hall
As the answer is necessarily rather long, I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the reply:
§ It was the policy of the Malayan authorities before the outbreak of war with Japan to increase the rice production of the country, and production in 1940 had reached a figure of 335,000 tons. During the period of Japanese occupation the condition of rice-producing areas deteriorated and the estimated harvest for 1945–46 was only some 245,000 tons. The immediate aim of the Malaya Union Government is to restore rice production to its prewar level and a variety of measures have been taken to that end. These include irrigation, the distribution of seed to growers both for the extension of the area under cultivation and to replace unsatisfactory seeds introduced by the Japanese, the provision of fertilisers and tools and the control of the movements of working cattle as well as general propaganda to secure increased production. In addition, a grant of £38,000 for equipment has been made under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act for the purpose of developing areas of forest land felled by the Japanese.
§ More long-term projects under consideration include the increase in facilities for ploughing, the improvement of seed and fertiliser and the extension of water supplies as well as the opening of suitable new areas. The Governor of the Malaya Union has assured me that every effort is being made, including large financial provision to increase the extent and productivity of padi areas.