HC Deb 06 April 1955 vol 539 cc96-7W
65. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what proportion of the British Somaliland Protectorate is under cultivation and when such cultivation was initiated; what proportion of the land in the reserved area is under cultivation and when cultivation was initiated there; whether the land under cultivation in the reserved area has been granted to Somalis of the British Protectorate; and whether the Somalis of the Protectorate will now be given all the assistance necessary to cultivate land within the territory of the Protectorate.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

In the Protectorate the area under cultivation is approximately 200,000 acres or 0.5 per cent. of the whole. In the reserved area at the time of the withdrawal of British Military Administration about 10 per cent. of the land was under cultivation at any one time. Both in the Protectorate and in the reserved area there was some cultivation before the war, but it has been greatly extended since then.

Somalis in the reserved area are occupying land which, by virtue of the fact that they have cultivated it, belongs to them and their heirs under Somali custom. Most of these Somalis are from British Protected tribes. It is the policy to encourage cultivation in the Protectorate wherever practicable, but by far the greater part of the country is unsuited by soil and climate to the growing of crops.