§ Mr. Sorensen
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that the production of palm oil in Nigeria fell between 1928 and 1938 by 18,000 tons, while production in other areas increased by 299,000 tons; that future production is estimated to be at a lower rate in Nigeria than elsewhere; and what action is being taken, in view of the importance of palm oil production in Nigeria, substantially to improve production and to secure the beneficial co-operation of Nigerians for this purpose.
§ Mr. George Hall
The figures quoted by my hon. Friend relate to exports only and take no account of the amount of palm oil consumed in Nigeria, itself. They should also be supplemented by figures for export of palm kernels which, during the year quoted, increased in Nigeria by 61,000 tons and in other main producing areas by 73,000 tons. The increased production of palm oil elsewhere has been due to the development of palm plantations in Netherlands East Indies, Malaya and the Belgian Congo.
It is recognised that it is important to secure the greatest efficiency in production and I am considering with the Government of Nigeria comprehensive schemes to that end. These include a programme of research into the improvement of the industry's methods and the provision of pioneer mills to demonstrate the advantages of improved methods of oil extraction. The improvement of the marketing of palm produce to ensure the maximum return to the producer is also being explored. These and other measures will demonstrate to the Nigerian producers I hope, the advantages of modern methods.