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Cocoa Trees (Disease)

Volume 478: debated on Wednesday 25 October 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the attitude of the Legislative Council of the Gold Coast to the compulsory destruction of cocoa trees infected with swollen shoot; and whether destruction is being universally enforced.

In December of last year, the Legislative Council passed a resolution welcoming the policy of enforcing, immediately after the collection of the main crop for the current season, the regulations under which diseased trees may be compulsorily cut out. Under the plan of campaign which the Government are now following diseased trees are being cut out wherever they are found, and only in a few isolated cases has it been necessary to invoke the legal powers to overcome opposition.

Does the right hon. Gentleman accept the view which was expressed by the Secretary for Rural Development of this Colony at the cocoa conference in London last month, that the Government had under-rated the swing of opinion in favour of compulsory cutting out?

I made a fairly long statement on this problem arising out of recent experience, and perhaps if I send the hon. Member a copy he will look at it again.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the rate of cutting out is now catching up on the number of trees being affected?

The information I have at the moment is that the Government are now reasonably satisfied with the progress being made.

Is the right hon. Gentleman really satisfied, because his predecessor a year ago said that he was satisfied, and yet, since then, the deterioration has gone on at an increasing rate? Will he put behind it a good deal of the huge amount of money which is available, and a good deal of energy?

I am fully conscious of the great importance of this problem, and will do everything I possibly can to help this campaign.