§ 26. Mr. W. Fletcher
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied that adequate steps have now been taken to deal with the threat to East African agriculture from swarms of locusts.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
As the answer is rather long, I will, with permission, circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Following is the statement:On the basis of present information about the desert locust plague, I am satisfied that adequate steps have now been taken to deal with the threat to East African agriculture. The steps which have been taken include the following:—
- 1. A Desert Locust Control Organsiation has been constituted to carry out control measures in infested areas to the North of British East Africa and in the Arabian Peninsula, and, if necessary, in the British East African territories. The headquarters of the Organisation are in Nairobi from where it directs the movement and operations of a large number of control teams. Brigadier Gamble, until recently Chief Administrator, Somalia, has been appointed Chief Locust Officer in charge of the Control Organisation, which is advised on the scientific aspects of the campaign by the staff of the Desert Locust Survey, a permanent research and reconnaissance organisation in Nairobi, and also by Dr. B. P. Uvarov, Director of the Anti-Locust Research Centre in London.
- 2. Over 100 Locust Officers have been recruited and are at present employed on the campaign. Should further officers be required, no difficulty is anticipated in securing them.
- 3. The vehicle resources of the Control Organisation are being supplemented by 130 vehicles of different types, together with a further 57 specially equipped for operation in desert areas. The last-mentioned vehicles are being obtained from the United States through the Economic Co-operation Administration. There is a temporary world shortage of insecticides but steps have already been taken to meet requirements and the efficacy of the control operations will not be affected. There is also a local shortage of bran, which is used for bait but everything possible is being done to make good deficiencies.
- 4. The cost of the campaign from the 1st October, 1950, to 30th September, 1951, is estimated at £1,222,000, and plans have been made for control measures on the same scale for at least a further two years. The cost will be shared by a number of Governments in the affected area. His Majesty's Government have agreed to contribute up to £331,500 from Colonial Development and Welfare funds in the first year of the campaign.
- 5. Everything possible is being done to ensure the closest co-operation between all countries concerned. A conference was held in Nairobi last July, at which co-ordination of the control measures against the desert locust was discussed. This conference was attended by representatives from all the British territories concerned, and from Italy, Egypt, the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and the Yemen. A further conference was convened by the Government of India in November at New Delhi, at which His Majesty's Government and the Desert Locust Survey were represented.