asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made respecting plans for the development of groundnut production in West Africa; to what extent it is estimated that cheaper production in East Africa will adversely affect groundnut production in West Africa; and what steps will be taken to co-ordinate the development of this production between the two areas.
A mission has been visiting West Africa to study the possibility of increasing groundnut production for export. I expect their report in a few weeks' time. I understand that it is not possible to make any valid comparison between the cost of producing groundnuts by the mechanised methods which are being adopted in East Africa and the costs of the small-scale peasant farming methods at present employed in West Africa. Further, I cannot yet say whether mechanised production in West Africa would be more expensive than in East Africa. Should this prove to be the case, the present and prospective world shortage of vegetable oils is such that there will be room for the maximum output from all areas for a considerable time to come.