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Colonial Development (Agricultural Products)

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whether, since the loan from the U.S.A. to this country has been more than half spent, and there is an acute shortage of dollars, he will give an assurance that money from the Colonial Development Fund will be put at the disposal of any Colony endeavouring to increase its output of such agricultural products as tobacco, maize and cattle, so as to relieve the strain of dollars required to purchase these commodities from the U.S.A. and the Argentine.

Colonial Governments have been encouraged to give full place to agricultural and veterinary projects in their development plans and substantial grants have been made under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act for this purpose. I will certainly consider very sympathetically any proposals for assistance towards the particular objects mentioned in the Question which fall within the scope of the Act.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that never in the whole history of this country have we wanted help from the Colonial Empire as much as we do today and that they in turn want help from us? Can we have an assurance that they will not be handicapped in any development by lack of finance in any shape or form?

I think the Government are doing all they possibly can in this direction. For the information of the hon. Member in the ten-year planning programme for Nigeria no less than £300,000 is being put on one side for veterinary developments; £670,000 for Jamaica for agricultural development and £781,000 for Nigeria for agricultural development.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that it is not thousands of pounds we want but millions?

When does the right hon. Gentleman propose to make a statement to the House giving information of the vast new plans for agricultural development which the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced last week during the discussion of the Finance Bill?

There will be an opportunity on a Supply Day for a full statement to be made, but I hope that before then a statement can be made to the House.