Northern Rhodesia NORTHERN Rhodesia is a link between East and
South Africa, and holds a pivotal position. " The corridor to the North " it has been called, but it is more than that : it is a great territory on the threshold of a wonderful development, with immense copper fields that will shortly supply the entire copper consumption of the Empire. It has good agricultural and pastoral land capable of sup- porting a large population, whereas now with 12,000 white and a million and a quarter natives the density is only four to the square mile. Its rainfall is adequate and its climate wonderful. It is a link and its origin betrays its nature, for the link was forged from both ends of the chain. North-Eastern Rhodesia was an offshoot of Nyasaland, and its Civil Service was recruited in England. North-Western Rhodesia sprang from the South and drew its personnel from' these. North-Eastern Rhodesia had its High Commissioner at Zomba, and its Appeal Court in Zanzibar, while for North-West Rhodesia both were in the South. When Mr.. Codrington moved' from North- Eastern to North-Western Rhodesia a considerable migration of North-Eastern officials took place so that, when the two territories were amalgamated in 1911, although the seat of Government was at Livingstone the personnel and Character of the service was largely Eastern. Unofficially,, however, the Southern element predom- inated. On the Railway belt from Livingstone to the Congo Border the farmers and traders came mostly from the South, the mining companies and railway likewise, so that while the Civil Service is linked by. history and tradition with East Africa the rest of the white popu- lation forms the Northern outpost of gouth African civilization.
From 1911 to 1924 the territory made little progress : the British South Africa Company concentrating- its energies on Southern Rhodesia. During the War the whole territory was mobilized for war work and the story of the transport of food supplies to " German East " is an epic of sustained effort and of difficulties overcome that is too little known. The first years after the War were easy, for the aftermath of war took time to reach the country, mining activity came to the fore,,and the system of big concessions for scientific prospecting, which laid the foundations of to-day's prosperity; was inaugurated. The cotton boom also began : people found that cotton, particularly a highly priced, long stapled variety, did admirably and gave big profits, experimental plots grew to big acreages, prospects looked rosy; farmers started buying cars which in a year supplanted wagons and thus ushered in, unconsciously, the birth of motor roads.
In 1924 the British South Africa Company handed over the reins of government to the Crown. Memory is short and few to-day realize the debt we owe to the Company, for a quarter of a century's rule in Northern Rhodesia. Peaceful penetration and an administration which, besides being effective, was the most economical ever known laid sure foundations whereon to build, but even so the strain of always paying out was no small burden. Revenue was negligible and yet, on the whole, though everything was primitive, the public services kept fair pace with the needs of the small population. Hope Deferred " might be the motto of Chartered Company's days.
But the seed germinated though' the plant did not grow without checks. The cotton boom collapsed as suddenly as it had arisen (even before many of the new ears were paid for !). No sooner was an up-to-date- ginnery established at Mazabuka than jassid appeared and ruined the crop. Tobacco succeeded it in the search for a valuable exportable crop which the inland position of the country necessitated, but that; too, had a boom followed 'by a slump caused by over-production. Failure on the top of failure dried up the small reserves of capital held by farmers and ruin seemed imminent.
Then the faith in the country was justified, and the Concessions policy in the mining area proved its worth. Payable copper did not stop at the Congo Border, for the copper fields in Northern Rhodesia were proved to be even greater than those in Katanga. Capital poured in „and the ..era,pf deyelpp_nr *began,
Cotton (for a jassid resistant variety has been bred) will come to its own, at any rate as a payable rotation crop for maize. ;The tobacco slump has been conquered, but these are now only subsidiary crops. The land hai always been able to produce beef and maize, and now, owing to the growth in population and in native employment, these products can be sold. No longer is the settler hampered by tremendous railage to the coast, and dependent on exports] le crops and world markets. He has a large and ever growing market at his door. This has completely changed the outlook for settlement and there is no doubt that the territory now offers a splendid field for farming. It is an admirable ranching country and one of the cleanest as regards diseases of stock : it is a good agricultural land ; and -7a most important factor—there is room for new- comers. In the settled area: the first important step in preparing, for settlement has been taken. The native reserves haVe been fixed, and a considerable amount of land is available outside them. The next step is now being undertaken : a properly manned Commission is investigating the alienable land from a settlement point of view. When thisCommission has reported (and wisely not until then): the Government will launch its settlement scheme, and there will probably be a big inrush of farmerS to a land favoured by good soil and climate coupled with an ever growing internal market. _
But even now there is need for settlers, and those who want to get in " on the ground floor " need not wait for the Report. There arc a few surveyed farms not yet alienated, which are available on Permit of Occupation . followed by Final Title (freehold). Also there are alwaYs some privately owned farms on the market. -
In 1928-9• the produce raised included 201,530 bags of maite, '11;000 'bags Of ground nuts, 11,000 bags of wheat and other cereals also, besides 3-,300 cases of oranges, I j million pounds of tobacco (it was 31 million pounds the previous year, but production had to be restricted). In 1929, apart from slaughter cattle, the territory had to import £85,526 of foodstuffs which could be produced in the territory, and as regards meat the position became so acute that large numbers of slaughter cattle had to be imported. Since the popula- tion is always growing local farmers arc sure of an internal market for all their produce.
Provision has been made for loans to farmers on the same terms as those granted by the Land Bank in Southern Rhodesia. and it is hoped that these will enable those who could not otherwise do so to take a hand -in fencing- and in the importation of stock. Besides the Commission referred to, arrangements have been made for the visit of an agriculturist of outstanding repute and of an irrigation officer to advise on certain major matters, and a start is to be made with an ecological survey. The Research Station at Mazabuka, agricultural. and veterinary, was opened in 1929.
The number of immigrants who entered the territory with definite employment or for settlement in the last five years has been 474, 756, 1,038, 1,066, 1,861. The imports of merchandise have risen in the last three years from £1,957,138 to £3,602,417 The mining development which has led to the increased prosperity and, on which the continued progress of the country depends has been left to the end. Except for Broken Hill .(lead, zinc and vanadium) and a few small gold mines, the mineral production is copper. The value of minerals exported in 1929 exceeded a million pounds, but although development is proceeding steadily and rapidly, entailing great expenditure and much employment, this figure will not show a substantial increase before 1932 when the first of the new mines starts producing, and will not assume big proportions before 1935, after which it will increase steadily. But shorn of all imaginative and optimistic trimmings, there is no doubt that the copper can be produced at a profit and that the future steady output should he about 50_0100.0_ tons per annum, and according to the usual
yearly growth of world consumption (one hundred thousand tons or more), there would still be a demand for further discovery of copper in 1940 if the territory's present programme is fully. carried. out and
ro production from other sources is appximately as estimated.
Besides the direct expenditure and employment at the mines, there is the natural sympathetic expansion in railways and roads, in the building trade (new towns are rising rapidly), and in all branches of trade and commerce. A second trunk telegraph line, off the railway reserve, is being constructed, the whole territory is being covered by a network of wireless, a regular air mail service will link the country with England and the Cape in 1931. And, so far as is possible, schools, hospitals, &c., arc keeping pace with expansion. Next to the mines themselves, the most radical change has been the growth of motor roads and the increase in motor vehicles, and this, like the mining industry, is merely a hint of what is to come. This has transformed all transport and also (with the aeroplane) has helped to annihilate distance and eliminate isolation. Economically and in every way the country, with expanding trade and buoyant revenue, stands upon a rock—a rock of copper ore. Of the magnitude of its future none can prophesy.