HC Deb 09 February 1949 vol 461 cc349-50
18. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what effect the drought in Africa, south of the Equator, is having on food crops; and what action is being taken against famine.

Mr. Creech Jones

The Governors of Nyasaland and of Northern Rhodesia have reported serious food shortages due to drought. The failure of the rains was more severe in the southern area of Nyasaland, but I am glad to say that the drought has broken and that general rains have fallen throughout the Protectorate, except in small areas in the extreme north and south. Growing crops have ceased to deteriorate, and the planting of supplementary crops and the replanting of grain is proceeding on a satisfatcory scale. Inquiries have been initiated in Washington to secure up to 15,000 tons of maize a month, to meet the needs of the two Rhodesias and Nyasaland.

Mrs. Castle

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in the view of people on the spot, famine is now inevitable although the rains have come; and, in view of the inadequacy of rail facilities in certain areas, cannot steps be taken to provision the blacker spots by air?

Mr. Creech Jones

The whole problem was under consideration by the three Governments concerned this week in order that provision should be made.