HC Deb 12 October 1943 vol 392 cc743-4W
Lieut.-Colonel Thornton-Kemsley

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the production of rubber in Ceylon has attained its maximum; whether there are any hindrances, such as shortage of labour and absenteeism; and whether he is taking any action to stimulate output?

Mr. Emrys-Evans

I have been asked to reply. As regards the first part of the Question, figures of production have recently shown a substantial increase. The more intensive tapping recently introduced is not yet fully reflected in the production figures, but I am hopeful that a further increase will be shown in the near future. Difficulties are being experienced both in regard to labour and foodstuffs, but the most recent reports indicate that the major portion of the extra tappers required have now been found locally. Steps have been taken to supplement the rice ration with supplies of other cereals and by these means the Island's cereal requirements have always been met. In answer to the last part of the Question, I would invite the attention of my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply on 2oth July last to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox).