HC Deb 19 April 1948 vol 449 cc103-4W
12. Mr. Philips Price

asked the Minister of Food what sums of money have to date been invested in the African groundnut scheme.

Mr. Strachey

£7,300,000 up to 1st March last. Almost the whole of the sum is, of course, capital expenditure. Only a very small part of it was spent on what clearing and planting was done last year.

Mr. Gammans

asked the Minister of Food why offers of employment in the East African groundnut scheme were not made to Maltese instead of Italians.

Mr. Strachey

A number of skilled mechanics, artisans and other tradesmen, if possible with a knowledge of Swahili, were needed for short-term contracts until suitable Africans could be trained for these jobs. It was also necessary that the men recruited should be in a position to undertake to return to their homes when their contracts expired. Italy was the only source from which the necessary number of men with the qualifications needed could be recruited quickly enough.