HC Deb 16 December 1948 vol 459 c208W
Mrs. Wills

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make any statement on the recent visit of a commission of scientists to the Gold Coast to examine methods of combating the swollen shoot disease of cocoa.

Mr. Creech Jones

The Commission's Report is being presented this week, and I shall without delay examine it in consultation with the Governor of the Gold Coast. It will be published in the near future and I hope it will be possible to make a further statement shortly.

Before they left the Gold Coast, the Commission emphasised publicly that swollen shoot, contrary to some popular beliefs, was not caused by weather conditions or cultural methods but was a contagious virus disease, carried from diseased to healthy trees by mealybugs. The destruction of diseased trees, the source of infection, was imperative; without that, other ideas for rehabilitating cocoa discussed in their report would be meaningless. The Commission stressed the need for accurate, thorough and continuous cutting out and urged farmers to co-operate in it. They commended the work done by the scientists at the West African Cacao Research Institute, in whom they said farmers should have confidence.

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