HC Deb 27 June 1956 vol 555 cc474-5
23. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many acres of the land included in the Mwea Development Scheme in Kenya are now under crop.

Mr. Hare

There are now 350 acres of rice under crop. A futher 420 acres are to be planted during the year with rice, maize and groundnuts.

Mrs. Castle

Is the Minister of State aware that when I was studying the scheme in Kenya last October, I was assured by people on the spot that it was expected to have 1,000 acres in crop by March, before the long rains? As this figure has not been reached, could the right hon. Gentleman explain why there is this very unfortunate delay in pressing ahead with schemes for the resettlement of landless Kikuyu tribesmen?

Mr. Hare

As I have just heard one of my hon. Friends behind me mention, it is sometimes not wise to hurry too quickly in these matters of agricultural experiments. This is part of a pilot scheme, and it is hoped that the first block of 5,000 acres will be cleared fairly soon, and that the second block of 6,000 acres will be ready about the end of this year. Meanwhile, we are quite pleased with the progress that has been made.