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Volume 465: debated on Monday 16 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Food how many tons of the 270,000 tons of the current year's crop of groundnuts and of the 44,000 tons of last year's crop, respectively, have been shipped to Britain; and what price he paid for them.

The Nigerian crop of groundnuts for 1947–48 amounted to 314,000 tons, not 44,000 tons. Of these, 274,000 tons have now been shipped to this country. The current year's crop will amount to about 315,000 tons, not 270,000 tons; 28,000 tons have been shipped to this country. We are paying £55 per ton c. and f. for decorticated nuts from the 1948–49 crop and £45 per ton in respect of the 1947–48 crop.

Is the Minister aware that the point of this Question is not what he has bought but what has been shipped? How many tons are lying rotting in Kano? Is he aware that I have received letters from West Africa to the effect that it is not the scheme but the Minister of Food who is nuts?

Disregarding the brilliant wit of the hon. Member, I would point out that my reply refers to nuts shipped and not to nuts bought.

Why will the Minister not make up the short-fall from East Africa by shipping from West Africa the many thousands of tons waiting there to be removed?