HC Deb 24 June 1935 vol 303 cc820-2W

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any steps are being taken to promote the cultivation of Sea Island cotton; and, if so, in which Colonies?


Sea Island cotton cultivation has been established in certain British West Indian Colonies for over 30 years. There has been no question in recent years of action being required to stimulate the cultivation of the cotton, as the industry found great difficulty in disposing of its existing production, and stocks of Sea Island cotton had accumulated. It was clear, therefore, that what was required was rather stimulation of consumption and the regulation of production to meet it. The matter was taken in hand about 18 months ago by the industry itself on its own initiative; the assistance of Governments was, however, enlisted in order that the arrangements made might, be effective. Acreage was restricted and stocks thereby reduced and machinery was instituted to ensure that in future production should be regulated in accordance with demand. As stated by my predecessor in a reply to the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) on 8th May (of which a copy is being sent to my hon. Friend) an advisory committee has been set up in this country to assist the West Indian Sea Island Cotton Association in promoting the interests of the industry, and I have no doubt that the situation will be watched with a view to increasing the production as soon as improved demand warrants such an increase. Indeed, I have some reason to hope that demand will show an increase in future.