HC Deb 01 December 1948 vol 458 c1983
14. Mr. Donner

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether since every cocoa tree in the Gold Coast will be wiped out by disease within 20 years unless effective action is taken, he now proposes to disregard the local politically-inspired opposition, which led to the suspension last April of the only known way of fighting the virus, namely, the cutting out of all trees suffering from swollen shoot; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Creech Jones)

The Commission which inquired into the disturbances which occurred in the Gold Coast earlier this year recommended inter alia an independent scientific investigation into means of eradicating swollen shoot. Three scientists of international repute are now in the Gold Coast making that investigation. Whilst I share the hon. Member's anxiety for the welfare of the cocoa industry, I think I had better await the scientists' report, which is due to be presented to me later this month before making any statement.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that no action whatever is being taken to check this disease pending an inquiry upon an entirely hypothetical question in regard to which there is no known reason for supposing that there is any other known cure for the disease?

Mr. Creech Jones

Every action is being taken in the Gold Coast, by persuasion and education and by agricultural officers, to persuade the farmers to cut out the diseased plants.

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