asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement respecting the present position of the West African cocoa trade; what effect the cut in price of cocoa arising from last year's loss is likely to have on West African growers; and what further efforts have been made to secure effective storage and processing in West Africa?
The hon. Member has been misinformed. There was no loss on the operations of the year 1942–43, and there has been no cut in the price to be paid for cocoa in West Africa during the season 1943–44 On the contrary, the position of the Gold Coast producer has been improved in that the full port price is to be paid at stations on the railway line up-country, thereby relieving the up-country producer of the cost of transport. In view of the much increased exports from West Africa, the storage situation no longer gives cause for concern, and in the present circumstances, there is insufficient surplus cocoa available to justify the provision of any elaborate equipment for the extraction of cocoa butter in West Africa as a war measure.