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Volume 640: debated on Thursday 18 May 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will state approximately the number of persons in the Aden Protectorates who have benefited directly from the Abiyan and other irrigation schemes; whether the Protectorate Federal Government has considered the further expansion of irrigation; and to what extent the growing of cotton and food crops has resulted in increased production owing to improved irrigation.

Some 40,000 people benefit in the two major irrigation areas of Abyan and Lahej. Plans are in train to expand the Abyan scheme. The Lahej area has been surveyed with a view to increasing the area under flood irrigation. Under these schemes cotton has increased by some 35,000 acres and other crops by some 8,000 acres. Some 120 market gardens around Aden have been developed by pumped irrigation during the last six years. Further development is planned.

May I ask the Minister whether the Federal Government initiated these schemes or whether they have done anything to expand them? Does he not agree that one of the chief hopes of increasing the per capita production in the Protectorate areas is by still further extending irrigation?

Yes, I agree. Both the local Government and Her Majesty's Government, through C.D. and W., have had a share in this. In such a barren area as this, one of the main essentials which we are trying to carry out is aerial mapping and survey in order that, as far as possible, we can see which are the resources which can be used.