HC Deb 08 November 1933 vol 281 cc164-6
2. Captain DOWER

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will consider the appointment of a committee to inquire into the procedure adopted by different Colonial Governments to encourage the cultivation by natives of products with which they have not been hitherto familiar; and whether he will see that the reference to such committee embraces the issues of world overproduction, degrading of quality, and prejudicial competition with investment of European capital which Colonial Governments have consistently invited?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)

I do not think such a committee would serve a useful purpose. Conditions vary in different Colonies, and in regard to different commodities, and I think Colonial Administrations are fully alive to and take into proper account all relevant considerations both local and general.

Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his attention has been called to the disastrous effects of the native cultivation of coffee in the Kilimanjaro area of Tanganyika; whether he is aware that in that area disease pests exist; and whether he will undertake to see that such disaster will not be permitted in Kenya Colony adjoining that area?


I certainly should not accept the statement my hon. and gallant Friend has made that native coffee growing in. Tanganyika has been a failure. I have been at some pains to obtain information from impartial sources, and I find that on the whole it has been regarded, as respects quality, as quite reasonably successful, and as commanding a better, or certainly an equal price, compared with coffee from other plantations. As regards coffee growing in Kenya, I have laid it down that in the interests of maintaining efficiency very special conditions must apply, and I think my hon. and gallant Friend will be interested to know that after discussing the matter with me the Coffee Trade Association of London, who had asked me to see them, put it on record that they are amply satisfied.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the Kilimanjaro area there has been an enormous increase of the very disease which completely wiped out the coffee crop in Ceylon, and will he make inquiries into that?


I am fully alive to the importance of preventing disease coming into coffee plantations, and that is why I am insisting on very strict conditions. I am sure my hon. and gallant Friend will agree with me that this question is by no means confined to native plantations. Re himself has told me of an instance within his own knowledge where he was put to great expense because of the lack of supervision and maintenance on settlers' plantations adjoining his own.


Has the right hon. Gentleman received many protests from Kenya regarding his policy of encouraging native growing of low grade coffee, thus prejudicing the higher quality of the European grades?


There is no question of encouraging the growing of low grade coffee, and I think anybody who knows the conditions which are laid down, and will certainly be enforced, will see that every care is being taken to maintain the efficiency of the Kenya crop.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has not heard of certain Colonies in 'which there is a necessity for new crops, and, in view of that, ought not this matter to be considered further than has been stated in his answer?


In my reply I stated that every consideration was being taken into account, and I think it is is very desirable that coffee growing——


I am not alluding to coffee but to other products.


Then perhaps the hon. Member will put a question on the Paper.

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