asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when he will announce the use to which he proposes putting the large sums, exceeding £20,000,000, arising from Government profits on cocoa deals.
It will be for the Cocoa Marketing Boards which are being established in the Gold Coast and Nigeria to consider how these funds may best be utilised for the benefit of West Africa farmers. Some of the uses to which these funds may be put are set out in Command Paper 6950 on the Future Marketing of West Africa Cocoa, which I presented to the House last November.
Will the Minister confirm that this enormous sum will not be put to any uses other than those indicated in his reply—that is to say, for general purposes?
The purposes are set out in the White Paper, and obviously these funds which have accumulated will he used for these purposes.
Will the West African farmers be consulted first?
Certainly. The West African farmers are represented, in the case of the Gold Coast, on the Production Board; and in the case of Nigeria their voices will be heard through their officials.
If the Government carried on this business for themselves, would it not be a profitable investment for this country?
The answer is that this is bulk purchase and trading by the Government.
Will the Minister agree that hulk trading, where he pays £60 a ton to the natives and sells to the Americans at £177 a ton, is hardly a practice to he encouraged?
That is another question, but the whole of the proceeds of the sales of the cocoa will go back to the producers in West Africa.