HC Deb 07 December 1949 vol 470 cc1855-7
19. Mr. J. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made in group farm planning on contours with African co-operation in Kenya.

Mr. Rees-Williams

As the answer is rather long and contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Harold Davies

Is my hon. Friend aware that some natives have been imprisoned because they were not planting on a contour basis? Is he aware that this may be due to the fact that the notices are given out in English and other languages which the natives cannot understand?

Mr. Rees-Williams

No, Sir, I am not aware of that. I am aware that there is increasing co-operation from the Africans with regard to voluntary terracing. I do not accept, without examination, my hon. Friend's suggestion.

Mr. Baldwin

Is not the Minister aware that unless this kind of operation is extended in the native reserves many large areas of Africa will be turned into desert? Does he not think that some of the money now being spent on colleges to turn out black-coated workers who are surplus to requirements, might be better spent in turning out African agricultural officers for the reserves?

Mr. Rees-Williams

I have answered the first part of the question. In regard to the second part, we are encouraging the training of African agricultural officers.

Mr. Davies

If I give my hon. Friend particulars and facts about this matter, will he investigate them and see that the instructions are clear, so that these people may understand what they are expected to do?

Mr. Rees-Williams


Following is the answer:

Many schemes for group farming and contour terracing are in progress. I cannot give details of all of them but at Makueni, 480 square miles of uninhabited land are being turned into group farms of about 120 acres each. In Fort Hall District, 5,500 miles of terraces were built with the aid of communal effort in 1947 and 1948, and in Kiambu District 2.000 miles. At Fort Hall, in addition to the terracing, 41,000 compost pits were built in 1947–48 and 6,100 cattle sheds built. There are between 50 and 60 projects in progress or in prospect for African land betterment and settlement. Over £3 million was set aside in the Colony's development plan for this work.