HC Deb 07 December 1949 vol 470 c1860
25. Mr. T. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what success has attended the planting of cocoa in Malaya before the war; and what further areas it is now proposed to open up there in cocoa.

Mr. Rees-Williams

Cocoa cultivation in Malaya before the war was confined to less than five acres planted for observation purposes at agricultural stations, plus 200–300 trees planted by smallholders in various parts of the peninsula. The experimental areas at agricultural stations and on estates now amount to some 400 acres while approximately 4,500 acres of land is at present under application by two commercial firms for large scale planting. A Colonial Development and Welfare scheme has recently been made for establishing a quarantine nursery near Singapore at which seeds imported from Africa and elsewhere can be grown in isolation and under supervision.

Mr. Reid

Can my hon. Friend say if the cultivation so far has proved to be a success, because, as he knows well, cocoa does not grow on certain soils? Is there a chance of an extension of cocoa growing in Malaya in order to make up for the loss of cocoa production in West Africa?

Mr. Rees-Williams

That is not the reason. The reason is to diversify the economy of Malaya. We have had a report which says that the soil is suitable in some areas. Unfortunately the person who has been taking out the seeds has been delayed at Cairo and it may mean that some of them will be a little off-colour before he gets there.