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Overseas Resources Development Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th November 1947.

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Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee 12:00 am, 6th November 1947

The next part of my speech is devoted to that particular topic. The Colonial Development Corporation, as the name implies, will be responsible for the undertaking or the promotion of all these schemes within Colonial territories. I think it will tend in general to undertake in Colonial territories all those schemes which involve the improvement and developing of existing methods of production in which the product in question is already produced in the area, but in which it is a case of improving the methods of the natives or of the white producers in that area. It need not be confined to that sphere but it will undertake all general schemes of that character.

I now come to the second corporation which it is proposed to set up under the Bill, to be called the Overseas Food Corporation. If the House will turn to Clauses 3 and 4 of the Bill, they will see the provision under which it is proposed to establish this corporation. Subsection (1) sets out the difference and differentiation in its function from that of the Colonial Development Corporation. The Overseas Food Corporation is to be a small body. Under Clause 12 it is to be provided from the Exchequer with advances up to £50 million at risk at any one time. As its responsibility to the Ministry of Food entails, it is confined to the production or the promotion of production of food and agricultural products. It is not confined to working in British Colonial territory. That is the main reason—I will expand this point in a moment—why it is necessary to have a second corporation and why the whole job cannot be done by the Colonial Development Corporation.

The Overseas Food Corporation may work in Colonial territory. Indeed, as we see, the first job which it is proposed to entrust to it is the groundnuts scheme which, although it is not in Colonial territory is, as an hon. Member has reminded me, in a British trusteeship territory. The corporation will tend to work in general in Colonial territory on schemes of that type, that is to say, very large schemes on virgin lands, where it is not a matter of the promotion and development of existing forms of production, but, as in the particular and somewhat special examples like the East African groundnuts scheme, where the production is based very largely on virgin soil.