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Colonization Work in Russia and South America Reported by the Ica

(J. T. A. Mail Service)

A report of the work of the Jewish Colonization Association in Russia and in South America was submitted by Leonard G. Montefiore at a meeting of the Anglo-Jewish Association.

In the new South Russian colonies there were on June 1, 2,275 families of whom 1,000 had been living there during the winter and the remainder had come back from their original homes at the beginning of Spring. Nine hundred and fifty-three houses had been built, and 1,198 were in course of construction. One hundred and thirty-six ordinary wells had been dug and five artesian wells of considerable depth.

The settlement of 3,500 families on the land is a considerable undertaking. Small perhaps, compared with the immense program of the American Agrojoint, but large for the Ica with its heavy existing commitments in other parts of the globe. Nor must it be forgotten that the 200 loan banks in Russia which enjoy Ica support also require very considerable funds. The new colonies like all similar undertakings suffer from occasional checks and set-backs. Among 3,000 families there is bound to be a certain proportion who having set their hand to the plough not merely look back but drop the plough altogether. The proportion is estimated at something like ten percent.

Unlike the Russian Jewish colonies which are all concentrated in one district, the Ica has been assisting the numerous Jewish agriculturists scattered along the castern border of Poland. Here by loans and advances from the Ica the Jewish farmer has been enabled to buy land on a fairly considerable scale. So successful has the Ica been that the advances have been paid back long before they were due, and in this way funds have been set free for fresh purchases. One might note in particular how the small advance of £1,000 together with their own resources helped 50 families to buy something like 1,200 acres of land.

In Roumania and Bessrabia the Jewish farmer has had to contend not only with bad weather conditions, but with the restrictions imposed by the Government. They have been particularly hard on the tobacco grower who has to sell his crop at the price fixed by the Roumanian tobacco monopoly.

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