HC Deb 02 December 1953 vol 521 c1151
40. Mr. J. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how much land in Nyasaland alienated to Europeans is undeveloped; and what the Government's plans are in connection with such undeveloped land.

Mr. Lyttelton

About 4 per cent. of the land area of Nyasaland (887,000 acres) remains in private ownership. Of this, 787,000 acres are undeveloped apart from African occupation; but this figure includes about 200,000 acres under natural forest or unsuitable for economic development and land held by missions and small estates. The Nyasaland Government have already acquired some 300,000 acres of undeveloped land held in freehold. I am considering with the Governor what further steps might be taken to ensure the best use of the Protectorate's land resources.

Mr. Hynd

Is the Minister aware that the recent disturbances in Nyasaland took place in an area in which there has been serious discontent over the existence of large parts of alienated land which has not been cultivated but which is limited to European cultivation?

Mr. Lyttelton

I would not accept what the hon. Gentleman says about that, but the problem, which has been under frequent review by successive Governments, is a difficult one, and this purchase of 300,000 acres is a practical step which we have been able to take and which we expect to extend.