HC Deb 06 April 1925 vol 182 cc1799-800

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that cotton of a quality equal to a fully-middling American is being grown in Northern Nigeria; that the climatic conditions there are in every way satisfactory for the growing of cotton and that ample land is available; that the development of cotton growing in Nigeria during the, last 10 years has been extremely slow; and that the crop last year available for export was only 15,000 bales; and, in view of these facts and of the urgent necessity of promoting the growth of cotton within the Empire, whether he will instruct the Governor of Nigeria to appoint a committee to consider and report upon the best steps to take to develop more rapidly the growing of cotton in Northern Nigeria.?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Ormsby-Gore)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, as is also the answer to the second part as regards much of the Northern Provinces. During the last 10 years the short native variety of cotton has been almost entirely replaced for export by the much more valuable longer staple variety, of which in 1915–16 121 bales were exported, 1919–20, 3,568 bales, in 1923–24, 15,035 bales. I am satisfied that the Nigerian Agricultural Department, which is working in close co-operation with the British Cotton Growing Association and the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation, is working on right lines, and that as further railways and increased transport, facilities become available the export of cotton of good quality will go on increasing. Accordingly, I see no sufficient reason to ask the Governor to appoint a local committee on this question.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a number of very able business men on the Legislative Council of Nigeria, who would give advice on the subject of increasing the growth of cotton in Northern Nigeria and improving the present position?


We rely in this very expert matter very largely on specially-trained agricultural officers, and on the co-operation of the two great associations originating in Lancashire and dealing with cotton. We have their advice and assistance, and I think it is quite sufficient and better than a purely local committee of merchants dealing with other goods.


Will there be no change in the principle, hitherto adopted in Nigeria, of having native cultivation rather than plantation cultivation?


That does not arise out of the original question. There is no suggestion, except that made by Lord Leverhulme, for altering the present policy of the Government of Nigeria, and I dealt with that in my speech a few days ago.

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