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St Helena (Economic Situation)

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 3 March 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement, from the most recent reports, on the economic situation in St. Helena; whether improvement in agriculture is making satisfactory progress; and whether water supplies are now sufficient to meet native requirements?

As regards agriculture, I am glad to say that, in spite of difficulties, arising out of the war, the situation in St. Helena continues to improve. With regard to the second part of the Question, certain projects are now in course of execution but are not yet completed. With my hon. Friend's permission, I will circulate a fuller statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the fuller statement:

St. Helena's total output of New Zealand hemp is bought by the Ministry of Supply, and this industry, which is the only important export industry in St. Helena, is working to capacity. The latest agricultural report, namely, that for 1941, indicates that the prospects of the development of subsistence farming as the basis of small holding agriculture are promising, that allotments for the increased production of vegetables and food crops are rapidly taken up, with marked improvement in the supply position, and that there is an ever increasing interest in milking goats. Information received subsequently indicates that progress is being well maintained. A further grant for the development of agriculture in the Colony was made in September, 1942, under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act. As regards the last part of the Question, with the assistance of a grant made under this Act a 200-ton water supply tank has been built at Chubb's Springs above Jamestown to augment the existing water supply, pipelines are being renovated, two additional storage tanks of 50,000 gallons each are to be built, and as many cottages as possible in areas which cannot be economically served by pipelines are to be provided with concrete rain water tanks. The completion of these projects is dependent on the supply of imported material, especially cement, and the availability of the necessary labour.