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Northern Rhodesia (Development Plan)

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 27 April 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the results of the policy adopted in 1947 of overhauling the 10-year development plan in Northern Rhodesia and making the country self-supporting in foodstuffs.

As the answer is necessarily long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

In view of the fact that the population of this territory has doubled in the last 36 years, is there any hope that they will be able to carry on without outside aid?

Following is the answer

The revision of this plan with the object of helping to secure increased food production in Northern Rhodesia was approved by the Legislative Council last June and it is too early yet to make any detailed statement on the results of the policy thus adopted. The following is a list of the measures so far taken to stimulate food production:

  • (1) A guaranteed price for maize grown by European farmers is declared at the beginning of the season.
  • (2) In 1948 a bonus of 5s. a bag was paid for crops produced above the average of the previous five years. (This bonus is not being repeated in 1949.)
  • (3) Payment of a uniform price for maize is guaranteed to African farmers within the Maize Control Board area, whether on or off the line of rail. This is intended to encourage the development of suitable but more distant maize land.
  • (4) The Government has introduced the grant of a bonus to African farmers, certified as farming on approved lines. Previously this was paid per bag delivered but now it is assessed on the basis of the acreage under maize and its rotational crops. This is proving a material encouragement to the African farmer to improve his methods of husbandry in the maize belt.
  • (5) Efforts to assist farmers in obtaining tractors, heavy earth-moving and stumping machinery are now beginning to be successful and the necessary machinery is arriving.
  • (6) Legislation was passed in 1948 to prevent the sale of immature and breeding stock, and a bounty on weaned beef cattle was introduced to encourage breeding and better methods of husbandry.
  • (7) The Government has introduced a scheme of financial loans to new settlers of up to £1,500 on a pound for pound basis, as an incentive to settlement and the bringing into cultivation of more land.
  • (8) A school is being opened for the training of African Agricultural Instructors and the Agricultural Department has been expanded so that their advice may be more widely available.