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Gold Coast (Diseased Cocoa Trees)

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 18 April 1951

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10.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the recent decision of the Government of the Gold Coast to abandon the practice of cutting out diseased cocoa trees.

17.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement about the Gold Coast Government's suspension of compulsory cutting down of cocoa trees infected with swollen shoot.

It was announced in the Legislative Assembly on 3rd April that the Executive Council had decided that there should be a suspension of compulsory cutting-out for one month while an inquiry into the organisation and methods of the cutting-out campaign was held; but that cutting-out should continue in those farms where the owners agreed to it. A committee has been set up by the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources to undertake the inquiry and to report within one month. In subsequent statements by Ministers it was emphasised that scientists had so far produced no effective treatment for swollen shoot other than cutting out and that the Government must accept this.

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain to the House what is the constitutional position in connection with the cutting out of diseased cocoa trees? Has the Minister any power whatsoever now to enforce cutting out if he is convinced it is absolutely necessary to save the cocoa industry?

I think I made it clear that there is no question of the cutting out being stopped. The Secretary of State has every confidence that the Government of the Gold Coast are taking this step only as a temporary measure and intend to see that a proper review is made of the subject within this month and that if there is any necessity for cutting out continuing it shall continue.

As not only the experts but also Mr. Nkrumah himself have said that cutting out is the only known treatment, will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the suspension will not be extended beyond one month?

It is for the Government of the Gold Coast to give that assurance, but in view of the statement by Mr. Nkrumah I have every confidence that it will be done.