asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) the reasons governing the decision that pyrethrum may only be grown in Kenya under licence;
(2) how many licences to grow pyrethrum have been issued to Africans in Kenya during the year 1940; whether he is satisfied that the charge of 50s. per annum for a licence is not in practice prohibitive for Africans; and whether he will consider reducing the cost to a smaller sum, such as 5s.?
Pyrethrum is a daisy, the flowers of which if properly picked and dried, yield a valuable insecticide; but considerable care is necessary in its preparation, if the proper standard of quality is to be reached. Price is dependent both on quality and on the quantities available not exceeding the requirements of the market. Careful control both of the quality and of the quantity of production is therefore essential if the prosperity of the industry is to be maintained, and is exercised under the Pyrethrum Ordinance 1938. The proceeds of the licence fee of 50s. are paid into a fund which meets the cost of the Board established under the Ordinance and of research, advertisement and other objects connected with the welfare of the industry. Having regard to the needs of the fund, a less sum than 50s. would be inadequate, and persons competent to produce pyrethrum are at present well able to bear a charge of 50s. My Noble Friend has no information regarding the number of licences granted to Africans and Europeans in 1940, but he is making inquiries.
I prefer to await a reply from the Government before answering that question, but I am prepared to discuss the general question with my hon. Friend at any time.