asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the serious effect on lime growers in the West Indies of the decision not to permit the importation of unconcentrated lime juice into Great Britain after the close of this year; whether any steps are being taken to establish any concentration process in the West Indian islands chiefly concerned; and whether any other measures are being taken by the local colonial governments to relieve the situation?
I am aware of the decision to discontinue the importation as from the 1st January, 1943, of unconcentrated citrus juices from the West Indies, on shipping grounds. One producer in Jamaica is capable of producing concentrated juice, but facilities do not, according to my information, exist for this purpose elsewhere in the West Indies. I am not aware that any producers, other than the one Jamaican concern which I have mentioned, are proposing to acquire concentrating plant, and indeed in the present shortage of equipment of all kinds this plant would be very hard to obtain. Proposals by the Government of Jamaica for the relief of the citrus industry, involving the use of £60,000 from a United Kingdom grant, have been approved.
That is a broad question which I dealt with only in the answer referred to just now, and active steps are being taken to promote alternative production, mostly food production, in all the islands.
In order to satisfy the need in this country will my right hon. Friend see that there is more production of citrous products; and would it be possible for my right hon. Friend to increase the grant that he is making to the West Indies in order to enable the Ministry of Health in this country to bring more of the citrous products to the children of this country?
That Question should really be addressed to my Noble Friend the Minister of Food. Our duty is to meet, as far as possible, the requests made for purchases by the Ministry of Food, the Ministry of Supply and other Government Departments. We do that as much as we can, but apart from that we have to stimulate alternative production and help in every way anyone who because of war conditions is not able to sell his ordinary commodities.