asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the foreign markets formerly supplied with palm kernels from British West Africa have been lost owing to the discovery of an effective substitute; whether this development is ascribed to the £2 per ton differential duty on the export of palm kernels imposed in 1916; whether the result is a glut of palm kernels in this country at low prices; and to what extent English industry has benefited from this situation, and to what extent British West African industry has suffered?
Since the War Germany has imported a much smaller quantity of palm kernels than before the War, when that country took the bulk of the crop. This is no doubt partly due to the effect of the differential export duty imposed in British West Africa in 1919—not 1916—which has led German crushers to turn their attention rather to copra than to palm kernels, but, owing to the greatly diminished purchasing power of Germany, her purchases of copra are far below pre-War level. Prices of palm kernels, as of other oil seeds, are low in this country at present, and one result has been a fall in the price of margarine to practically the pre-War level, thus benefiting the consumer. West African industry has, of course, sufferedb by the fall in the price of palm kernels as of other produce.