HC Deb 24 October 1945 vol 414 cc2144-5W
Mr. G. Brown

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what profits have been made on the marketing of Uganda cotton and Nyasaland tobacco during the war; whether a decision has been taken as to the use to which these profits should be put; and whether Government marketing plans for these products are to continue.

Mr. George Hall

The Cotton Fund in Uganda, derived from profits made during the war on the marketing of cotton, stood at the end of 1944 at approximately £3,000,000. It is intended that these profits should be expended for the benefit of the African population of the areas in which production takes place and a local committee is now considering the objects for which the Fund should be used. The future organisation of the industry is under consideration.

Tobacco grown on private estates in Nyasaland, whether by Europeans or Africans, is sold by private arrangement. The bulk of the tobacco produced by Africans is grown on Native Trust Land and is marketed through the Native Tobacco Board established in 1926. The profits of this Board during the war years have been as follows:

1939 7,656
1940 31,587
1941 81,926
1942 114,931
1943 89,092
1944 54,798

As regards the use to which these profits are put, the law was amended in 1944 to enable payments to be made from the funds of the Board into a local Native Development and Welfare Fund. A sum of £130,000 was paid into this Fund last year. At the same time a sum of £210,000 was retained by the Board for the purpose of price stabilisation. No change is contemplated in the existing arrangements for marketing through the Native Tobacco Board.

A delegation with representatives both of the European growers and of the Native Tobacco Board, and accompanied by a representative of the European growers in the Eastern Province of Northern Rhodesia, has just completed a successful visit to this country, during which they were able to make contact both with the Departments concerned here and with commercial interests and to explore the possibilities of future markets for Nyasaland tobacco.