HC Deb 13 July 1949 vol 467 c417
23. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the cutting down of cocoa trees in West African colonies in order to deal effectively with disease is now proving more acceptable; approximately what proportion of the diseased or threatened trees have now been destroyed; and to what extent it is estimated the production of cocoa during the next 10 years will be affected.

Mr. Rees-Williams

Yes, Sir. Roughly six million and one million trees had been cut out in the Gold Coast and Nigeria respectively by the end of May. It is not yet possible either to determine accurately the total number of diseased trees or to forecast the effect of the disease on production over the next 10 years.

Mr. Sorensen

Can we take it that the resistance, which was possibly due to a misunderstanding, has now considerably declined, if not vanished?

Mr. Rees-Williams

Yes, Sir, that is so.

Mr. Keeling

As the progress of the disease is much more rapid than the progress of cutting out, has the question of reviving compulsory cutting out been considered?

Mr. Rees-Williams

The position now is that there are more applicants for cutting out than there is force available to do the cutting out.