HC Deb 29 May 1946 vol 423 cc196-7W
Mr. Younger

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are being taken to promote the production of food in Malaya.

Mr. George Hall

The shortage of imported foodstuffs has, since liberation, made the promotion of food production for internal consumption in Malaya a first object of policy with the Government. A variety of measures have been adopted to that end, including the enactment of compulsory legislation for the short-term production of indigenous foodstuffs (the direction of effort by a Food Production Board and the dissemination of local propaganda).

More specifically, the measures taken have involved financial provision for increasing the extent and productivity of rice areas, the cultivation of rice substitutes, the grant of permission to squatters to remain on Crown lands and the compulsory cultivation of vegetables on estates. Urgent efforts are being made to rehabilitate the fishing industry and the livestock population, both of which have suffered severely as a result of the war. It is also hoped to resuscitate to the extent that conditions permit exports of vegetable oils; but so long as imports of alternative foodstuffs are not available, it is impossible to revive exports of these commodities to their prewar extent.

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