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Tuesday, 27 April 1965

Senator GORTON (VICTORIA) (Minister for Works) - The Minister for Territories has now supplied the following answers -

1.   The slump in cocoa prices will reduce the income of native cocoa producers but will not make the crop unprofitable to them.

2.   Economically the cocoa industry is dependent on sales overseas. Unhappily, market prices have slumped and the industry faces a difficult period. The price slump may revitalise international examination of stabilisation schemes. Examination of the current problems will be continued and any proposals of the Territory industry will be fully explored.

3.   Yes. Research on the dieback disease of cocoa is the first priority of the pathological section of the Papua and New Guinea Department of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries. Entomologists and agronomists also are involved in field and laboratory trials. Consultants including Dr. Posnette, a leading cocoa pathologist and Dr. Dockhard, a world leader in the field of cocoa nutrition, have been brought to the Territory to advise on the problem. Dr. Van Velsen is investigating the possibility of a virus component in the dieback problem,

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