HC Deb 23 February 1920 vol 125 c1319W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if the British Empire only grows 24 per cent. of the total cotton of the world; and if he will give the percentage of the cotton output now grown in British Colonies and indicate its gradual growth since 1910, at the same time stating what special steps are being taken to increase this cultivation to the fullest possible extent?

Lieut.-Colonel AMERY

The figure of 24 per cent. is for the whole Empire, including India, Egypt, and the Sudan. The percentage for the Colonies and Protectorates with which the Colonial Office is responsible is about one-quarter of one per cent. Apart from the small but valuable West Indian crop the production is almost entirely in tropical Africa. The figures range from about 38,000 bales of 400 lbs. in 1910 to 75,000 bales in 1914 and 47,000 bales in 1918. The recent falling off is largely due to the decreased output of Uganda during the war period, but a largely increased Uganda crop is now expected. These figures do not include the large amount of cotton grown in Nigeria for the local market, which does not pass through European hands. The possibilities of increased production will in certain cases be limited by the competition of other crops or the sparseness of the local population, but every effort is made to encourage cotton growing, and special attention has been given to the improvement of Colonial Agricultural Departments. The Colonial Office is in close touch with the Empire Cotton Growing Committee.