§ Sir W. Smithers
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the average world price and the U.S.A. price for cocoa in 1940 and in 1943; and what was the price paid to the producers in West Africa.
§ Mr. George Hall
Under wartime conditions, there has been no world price for cocoa in the sense understood before the war. The average prices obtained by the West African Produce Control Board for main crop Gold Coast cocoa in the years stated were, however, as follows:
— 1940 1943 £ s. d. £ s. d. Average of all sales, per ton, f.o.b. West Africa. 23 0 0 29 10 0 Average for sales to the U.S per ton f.o.b. West Africa. 22 10 0 33 0 0
The prices paid to the producers and the f.o.b. equivalents after meeting intermediate costs were as follows:
— 1939–40 season (exported in 1940) 1940–43 season (exported in 1943) £ s. d. £ s. d. Naked ex-scale price to producer per ton 15 17 4 13 1 4 F.o.b.equivalent 22 5 0 19 11 6
In considering the 1943 figures, account must be taken of the fact that, although the Board bought and paid for a total of 318,606 tons in the 1942–43 season, only 250,569 tons were sold, the balance of 68,037 tons having to be destroyed owing to lack of shipping space for exports. The hon. Member will also recall the undertaking by His Majesty's Government that Parliament should be invited to vote a sum equivalent to any net profit on sales of West African cocoa during the period of operation of the Government purchase scheme, for expenditure of benefit to the producers.