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Zanzibar (Clove Research)

Volume 441: debated on Wednesday 6 August 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies for what special purpose provision is made under Item 134 in Colonial Research Reports 1946–47 for the appointment of a Director of Clove Research; and to what extent research has already been made into the "Sudden Death" disease of cloves in Zanzibar.

The provision made under Colonial Development and Welfare Research Scheme No. R.134 was to enable a suitably qualified officer to be appointed on a full-time basis as Director of Clove Research to undertake an exhaustive investigation of the "Sudden Death" disease. At present 60,000 trees are estimated to be dying in the course of a year, representing between 1 per cent. and 2 per cent. of the total clove tree population in the island. A director has been appointed: and after preliminary investigations in Zanzibar he has prepared a scheme for a team of workers to begin work under his direction in the autumn of this year. The scheme has been approved by my Colonial Agricultural Research Committee, and the director is at the present time consulting further with experts on virus diseases in this country and in the United States of America.To enable this research to proceed, I have made a further scheme under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act to assist the cost of the investigation for a period of four years. The Zanzibar Government is defraying the capital cost of the purchase and conversion of buildings required, and the Zanzibar Clove Growers' Association is making a contribution of £17,000.Much effort has been expended and research undertaken to ascertain the cause of the disease and to arrive at the remedies. The cause is not yet known. Efforts in the past have been made by single scientists for relatively short periods, and the Department of Agriculture has conducted numerous experiments on manurial and moisture requirements. In collaboration with scientists in this country the mineral deficiency aspect has been investigated. At no time has there been continuous work by a team of scientists, and I am advised that the present proposals offer the best prospects of an early solution of the problem.