HC Deb 23 June 1948 vol 452 cc1357-9
57. Mr. Digby

asked the Minister of Food whether he is now in a position to give the average yield per acre for the 7,500 odd acres recently planted with groundnuts at Kongwa, Tanganyika.

Mr. Strachey

Harvesting is still going on in East Africa so no figures of average yield are available. In any case, the 7,500 acres planted last crop year were used for experiments of all kinds with different varieties on varying soils with varying types and quantities of fertilisers. Hence an average yield figure would have little meaning.

Mr. Digby

Is it not true that only three types of vine were actually used for the main area?

Mr. Strachey

Oh, no; a very considerable number of different types were used.

61. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Minister of Food what amount of oil will be available from groundnut cultivation in Africa; for what purposes it will be suitable; and what will be the price to the public.

Mr. Strachey

We expect to get about 137,000 tons of oil from all the 1947–48 African groundnut crops. It will be used to make margarine and cooking fats. Their prices are 5d. or 9d. per lb. for margarine, according to quality, and 1s. a pound for cooking fat.

Mr. Freeman

Could the Minister say what proportion of the nuts is being imported as oil, what proportion as nuts and what proportion for the purposes of margarine? How does the oil compare with olive oil in its use and purpose?

Mr. Strachey

Virtually the whole of this will be imported as oil, and used as oil.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

Is it not a fact that practically the whole of the present crop which is now growing is to be used for seed for the forthcoming crop, and will not be utilised for the production of oil?

Mr. Strachey

The Question refers to the African crop and not the East African crop. This is the whole of the African crop, the great majority of which comes from West Africa and Nigeria.

Mr. Drayson

Can the Minister say whether the figures he mentioned are greater or less than for the previous year?

Mr. Strachey

Not accurately without notice, but I think they are a little greater.

Mr. W. Fletcher

Are the prices based on cost of production or on what other basis?

Mr. Strachey

I could not answer that without notice.

Mr. Baldwin

Can the Minister say what proportion of this production is from the Colonial Production Corporation and how much from other production?

Mr. Strachey

There is no such body as the Colonial Production Corporation. There is the Colonial Development Corporation, but that has not started operations of any kind to my knowledge.