Rice Production.

Oral Answers to Questions — West Indies. – in the House of Commons on 24th June 1942.

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Photo of Mr David Adams Mr David Adams , Consett

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies the urgent measures taken in March to bring rice production in British Guiana to a maximum to meet the needs of the West Indies; whether he is aware of complaints from that Colony that the measures taken to expand production are inadequate; that the committee appointed to increase and supervise rice production does not command public confidence; and that owing to the unsatisfactory policy in the past, rice exports have fallen from 29,000 tons in 1933 to under 9,000 in 1941, whereas the demand for rice in the West Indies is-at least 40,000 tons?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

The measures taken to increase the production of rice in British Guiana included the fixing of remunerative prices to growers, the growing of rice on sugar estate lands and the commencement of further large irrigation works. The committees entrusted with the task of encouraging food production have recently been reorganised on a regional basis, and the question of further cultivation of rice and other food-stuffs on sugar lands has been discussed with the sugar interests both here and in British Guiana. The small crop in 1941 was due primarily to drought, and it is expected that production henceforth will be on an adequate scale, having regard to the importance of growing also in-creased quantities of other foodstuffs and fodder crops.

Photo of Mr David Adams Mr David Adams , Consett

Is the Minister aware that the Press of British Guiana, together with statements by public persons there, indicate the necessity for some alteration, failing which the desired crops will not be obtained?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

We are pressing this matter forward with the greatest possible urgency.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

How far now does the supply of rice fall short of the actual needs?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

Does my hon. Friend mean in that particular Colony or having regard to the possibilities of export?

Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

Does my right hon. Friend recognise the importance of improving health measures in British Guiana in order to improve production?