§ 15. Mr. Thomas Reid
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how far the attempt of the Malayan Agricultural Department to make Malaya self sufficient 2025 in the matter of rice by mechanised cultivation of swampy land has been successful up to date.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. James Griffiths)
Mechanisation of rice cultivation in Malaya is still in the experimental stage, but it seems that most of the unexploited swamplands consist of peat soils in which submerged timber makes mechanical cultivation impracticable. On clay soils, however, experiments have been promising and it is intended to undertake a pilot scheme for the mechanised cultivation of some 180 acres next year. But however successful mechanised cultivation and other measures prove to be, it is not contemplated that Malaya will be able to become self-sufficient in rice.
§ Mr. Walter Fletcher
Will the right hon. Gentleman say at what level he considers self-sufficiency should be set; how many ounces of rice per day?
§ Mr. Griffiths
That is another question. The needs of Malaya are estimated at 900,000 tons and production is now 450,000 tons. My answer indicated that I did not think that we could produce that 900,000 tons.