HC Deb 16 July 1941 vol 373 cc594-5
36. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether he is able to make a statement on the work of the Cocoa Board, and the position in West Africa in respect of arrangements for storage, processing or distinction of crops, and the price to cocoa producers?

Mr. George Hall

The West African Cocoa Control Board began its work in October, 1940, and will not, therefore, have completed a year's marketing of West African cocoa until 30th September next. In the circumstances I should prefer not to make any statement about the proceedings of the Board until it has completed a full year's programme. The Board has carefully considered arrangements for the storage of any cocoa which it may not be able to ship by the end of the season, and sufficient space is available for any balance of this season's crop which may have to be carried over. Arrangements have been made in the Gold Coast for a small quantity of cocoa to be processed and used for household requirements. As regards manufacturing prepared cocoa in West Africa for export, the general cocoa situation and the practical difficulties involved do not justify serious consideration of this possibility at present. My noble Friend is in communication with the Governors of the Gold Coast and Nigeria in regard to the price to be paid to cocoa producers during the season 1941–42.

Mr. Creech Jones

Will the hon. Gentleman give special consideration to the price now being paid to the producer, in view of the fact that a profit is being made by the Cocoa Board in this country which is virtually subsidising the cost of living here?

Mr. Hall

I indicated in replying to a previous Question that that is being done.