Oral Answers to Questions — Kenya (Cotton and Coffee Growing).

– in the House of Commons on 31st March 1925.

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Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

89.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies under what Ordinance coffee grown by natives in Kenya is pulled up by the police?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

The Registration of Coffee Plantations and Coffee Diseases Ordinance, 1918, requires that all coffee planters, regardless of race, shall register their plantations under penalty on conviction of fine, or imprisonment in default. I have no information with regard to coffee plants being pulled up.

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House the reason for this Ordinance, and why it should be illegal to grow coffee?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

It is not illegal to grow coffee. It is illegal to grow it except under special conditions, because in Ceylon this particular quality of coffee grown in Kenya was wiped out by disease in one year.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Is it a fact that permission to grow coffee is refused to the natives of Kenya at the present time under this Ordinance?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

It is not absolutely refused, but they have to comply with strict Regulations, and, in fact, very little is grown there. Experiments are taking place with regard to the control of native-grown coffee in the neighbouring territories, and until we have seen the results of these experiments it is better not to take risks which might result in wiping out the whole industry.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that these Regulations are devised for the purpose of controlling disease, and not in order to prevent the natives from growing coffee?

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

Will the hon. Gentleman inform the House whether restrictions similar to those applied in Kenya are applied in other parts of the Empire where coffee is grown?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

No, but in very few other parts of the Empire is this particular kind of coffee grown. For instance, the bulk of the native-grown coffee in the two neighbouring territories is an entirely different kind of coffee.

Photo of Sir George Harvey Sir George Harvey , Lambeth Kennington

Have the natives of Kenya any chance of doing anything at all for themselves?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

Yes, they have a great deal of chance, and, as a matter of fact, they are producing increasing quantities of maize, cotton, and other products. The rapid increase in native production in the last two years has been very remarkable.

Photo of Mr William Mackinder Mr William Mackinder , Shipley

Is it a fact that cotton is preferred to coffee?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

Yes, cotton is preferred to coffee?