Fruit Preservation.

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies. – in the House of Commons on 2nd April 1941.

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Photo of Mr Alfred Barnes Mr Alfred Barnes , East Ham South

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether the productive capacity of the jam and canning plants in this country is capable of handling the estimated home grown fruit crop?

Major Lloyd George:

Yes, Sir.

Photo of Mr Alfred Barnes Mr Alfred Barnes , East Ham South

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food to what extent it is his intention to use women's organisations to manufacture jam from fruit next season; whether he will state which women's organisations he proposes to use for this purpose; and how the jam-making equipment and labour is to be provided?

Major Lloyd George:

My Noble Friend is inviting the co-operation of all women's organisations which he has reason to believe may be in a position to help in the organising of co-operative fruit preserving centres. As the list is a long one, I am sending a copy to my hon. Friend, together with a copy of the relative instructions which have been sent out by my Department to Divisional Food Officers. All the work will be done by unpaid and voluntary workers as a form of national service.

Photo of Mr Alfred Barnes Mr Alfred Barnes , East Ham South

May I ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether he is assured of the co-operation of these women's organisations; and if the productive capacity of the existing industry is sufficient, why create all this unnecessary organisation?

Major Lloyd George:

I could not say whether I am assured of all co-operation. All I can say is that they are all being asked to co-operate. With regard to the question why it is necessary to set up this organisation, when we have sufficient capacity at the moment, the hon. Member will realise that in certain country districts it will save, as it did last' year, a considerable amount of the fruit crop if we allow people to preserve their smaller quantities of fruit on the spot rather than that we should attempt to go through the whole business of collecting these small quantities of a perishable commodity and sending them to manufacturing centres.

Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley

Will the hon. and gallant Member publish the list of organisations?

Major Lloyd George:

Yes, Sir.

Photo of Major George Davies Major George Davies , Yeovil

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that there are thousands of women who are not members of an organisation who have in their own gardens varying quantities of soft fruit which they would like to preserve, and which will be lost and wasted if they cannot get access to the sugar necessary for preserving it? Has he in mind any plan to prevent wastage of that fruit which will occur unless some form of collection, or other facilities for these individuals, can be evolved by his Department?

Major Lloyd George:

There is no need for any person to be attached to any organisation in order to take full advantage of this scheme. The difficulty about issuing sugar to individual persons is that one must have an eye to the supply situation, and it was our experience last year that far more sugar went out than went into jam.

Mr. Donald Scott:

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food what steps he intends taking to meet the growing opposition to the Co-operative Fruit preservation Scheme for 1941 by domestic fruit producers?

Major Lloyd George:

I am glad to have the opportunity of correcting certain misconceptions which have contributed to the criticism of this scheme. In the first place, I should make it clear that every preserving centre will be open to all members of the public on equal terms, whether they are members of any voluntary organisation or not. Secondly, control of the issue of sugar to preserving centres will be in the hands of food control committees and not of any voluntary organisation. Thirdly, I can assure my hon. Friend that had the sugar supply position permitted, it was my Noble Friend's intention to increase the sugar ration from the middle of May to provide for domestic fruit preservation. It is solely on the grounds of the sugar supply position that it has been decided not to do so. The primary reason for some such scheme as that which has been worked out is the necessity to prevent the waste of garden fruit which cannot be sold in the shops or to jam manufacturers. My Noble Friend is satisfied that this purpose can only be achieved by officially authorised fruit preservation centres open to inspection by officers of the Departments concerned, and under an obligation to account for the use of all sugar issued to them.

Mr. Scott:

Is the Minister aware that in remote country districts the scheme will be almost unworkable and that in those districts it will be a question of jam yesterday, jam to-morrow, but never jam to-day?

Major Lloyd George:

I do not quite know what that means. An object of the scheme is to help to provide for the needs of those areas. If the areas to which my hon. Friend refers are very remote, there is nothing to prevent groups getting together and co-operating.

Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Aberdeen North

What is to happen to the jam produced? Are the fortunate possessors of soft fruits to have all the jam that is produced from them?

Major Lloyd George:

The actual amount to be received by them this year has not been decided. It will have to have some relation to the situation that exists. Last year the limit adopted was 12 lb. per child's ration book and 10 lb. per adult's ration book.