HC Deb 04 March 1953 vol 512 cc369-70
10. Mr. Baldwin

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent crops in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika, have recently been affected by lack of rain; how far the position is regarded as serious; and what is the estimated shortage of food which will result.

Mr. Lyttelton

The short rains below average and it will be serious if the long rains fail or are poor. If they are good the crops should be enough for all the needs of East Africa. Local food shortages have occurred mainly in Tanganyika which, it is estimated, will require 25,000 tons of grain to meet requirements until August. So far shortages have been met by drawing on existing stocks, by moving grain within East Africa and by some small imports.

Mr. Baldwin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the shortage of food caused by drought will be aggravated by the shortage of labour through the removal of squatters from territories in Kenya? What steps are being taken to replace this labour either by recruiting from other tribes or by the screening of loyal Kikuyu remaining there?

Mr. Lyttelton

That carries the matter a little wider than my hon. Friend's Question. However, I may say that some grain imports will be necessary.

Mr. J. Johnson

Has the right hon. Gentleman any statistical evidence of long-term changes of climate in those parts? Some people believe that desiccation is beginning in the eastern and central parts of Africa.

Mr. Lyttelton

The hon. Gentleman is asking me to enter realms of prophecy in which I am incapable of being very efficient by reason of my profession.

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