HC Deb 10 June 1958 vol 589 cc19-20
29. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what area in the Kenya White Highlands remains undeveloped; and what proposals have been considered for bringing this land into productive use.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I have no more up-to-date figures than those for 1954 to which I referred in my reply to the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) on 9th November, 1955. It is the Kenya Government's policy to enable all suitable land to be brought into full production, in the Highlands and native areas alike. In 1956 alone, the Land and Agricultural Bank made advances of more than £1 million to farmers, mostly in the Highlands, and since July, 1956, £350,000 has been spent in development loans to farmers under the Agriculture Ordinance.

Mr. Stonehouse

In view of the fact that there is still very great overcrowding in the reserves, can the right hon. Gentleman say when it will be possible for Kenya to implement the suggestion of the Royal Commission that the land in the White Highlands should be opened up for non-European occupation?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I think we would all agree that the real remedy—and there are no politics in this—for overcrowding in the reserves is the profitable use of the land there, and we hope to achieve this by schemes similar to the Swynnerton plan. With regard to the second part of the supplementary question, my attitude and the attitude of the Government of Kenya to the Commission's Report is fully set out in Cmd. 9801, copies of which are in the Library of the House, and, apart from that, I would remind the hon. Gentleman that its recommendations also apply to African-owned land and not solely to the White Highlands.

Mr. J. Johnson

Is it not a fact that the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Michael Blundell, said that it would be a good thing if African farmers were allowed to farm on this white land, and why cannot the Minister support the senior Minister of the Kenya Government on this?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Mr. Blundell and I see eye to eye on this matter, which is one of husbandry and not of race.

Mr. Bottomley

Do I understand that we have no details further than 1954, and, if that is so, why have we no further information?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I have not the information yet, and naturally I shall get further information; but I thought it best to give the answer I did today.

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