HC Deb 27 September 1944 vol 403 cc227-9
33. Mr. Riley

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are being taken to enable the banana growers in Jamaica to replant their banana groves after the recent destruction of the banana plants by a hurricane in August of this year.

Colonel Stanley

I have recently informed the Governor that His Majesty's Government will, subject to the House voting the funds required, provide financial assistance to the banana growers by grants and loans for replanting and by extension of the guaranteed purchase scheme, on lines recommended by the majority of a representative committee which the Governor set up to consider the matter following the hurricane in August last. As the details are necessarily long, I am circulating a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. E. Walkden

Is the right hon. Gentleman also arranging to see that we have the banana boats available; and can he say when we are likely to see a banana here?

Colonel Stanley

The question regarding shipping, I am afraid, must be addressed to the Ministry of War Transport.

Following is the statement:

(a) Guaranteed purchase of fruit.

Period of operation extended from 30th June, 1945, to 31st December, 1946. During this period, His Majesty's Government undertakes to finance the purchase of fruit of high-grade exportable quality up to a maximum of 24 million stems of bananas spread over the whole of the extended period, subject, however, to adjustment in the light of actual circumstances. The funds required for this guarantee will for the present be met from the Vote of Credit.

Receipts from sales of bananas during this period will be wholly at the disposal of His Majesty's Government.

(b) Guaranteed price of fruit.

Present price of 3s. 6d. per count bunch plus 3d. per count bunch for leaf spot control measures increased to 4s. 6d. and 4d. per count bunch respectively with the object of providing additional encouragement to growers to resuscitate or replant their plantations and of covering recent wage increases.

(c) Grants and loans for resuscitation and replanting and for new plantings.

Assistance on the following scale will be available to growers from a free grant and an interest free loan from United Kingdom funds which it is proposed, in due course, to ask Parliament to vote to the Jamaica Government.

Percentage of Damage to Plantations. Assistance to be made available in form of:
Grant Loan Total
Resuscitation and Replanting: Per acre Per acre
£ £ £
Over 90% 6 6 12
75% to 90% 5 5 10
66% to 75% 4 4 8
50% to 66% 3 3 6
40% to 50% 2 2 4
25% to 40% 1 1 2
Under 25% No grant 2 2
New Planting:
Loan for new planting No Grant 12 12

On irrigating land the scale of assistance will be 50 per cent. higher.

Issues of both grants and loans will be made in instalments on the certificate of a suitable inspecting officer. The loans will not be obligatory but payment of grants will be conditional upon a performance of work for which growers will be eligible for both grants and loans. When the work is done the growers will become eligible for loan as well as grants, but the acceptance of the loan is optional. Initial advances on account of either grant or loan will be given when necessary.

The period of the loans will be for a term of three years (with extension at the discretion of the Agricultural Loan Society Board), repayable after 15 months with interest at the same rate as that fixed for other hurricane loans, namely, 2½ per cent. per annum of which 2 per cent. is required to meet local administrative charges and ½ per cent. is allotted as a reserve for bad debts.

Registration of damage and periodical inspection will be carried out by the Food Controller Banana Purchasing Organisation who will also issue the grants. Loans will be issued by the Agricultural Loan Banks and the Agricultural Loan Society Board.

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