Imported Apples

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1949.

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Photo of Sir Archer Baldwin Sir Archer Baldwin , Leominster 12:00 am, 28th November 1949

asked the Minister of Food why he made the recent contract to purchase 25,000 tons of Italian apples at a cost of approximately £43 per ton, in view of the large home supply now available and also in store for future supplies.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

This purchase has been arranged as part of a general trade agreement with Italy. I am quite satisfied that we need these and other imported eating apples which, together with the home crop, will, I am afraid, still give us less-than the pre-war quantity of apples per head this winter.

Photo of Sir Archer Baldwin Sir Archer Baldwin , Leominster

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Minister of Agriculture is endeavouring to encourage the planting of fruit trees in this country? Does he think that action such as this is likely to encourage the planting of fruit trees here?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

If the hon. Member suggests that we ought to prohibit these importations, or fail to make them, I cannot agree with him at all.

Photo of Sir Harold Sutcliffe Sir Harold Sutcliffe , Royton

Will the right hon. Gentleman expedite the distribution this winter of these apples, especially soft apples, as many retailers in the North of England found that, on the average, half of each case was bad by the time they got it?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

The hon. Member cannot be referring to these apples because they have not arrived yet.

Photo of Professor Douglas Savory Professor Douglas Savory , Queen's University of Belfast

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that thousands of excellent eating apples are lying rotting at Ballinderry in south County Antrim and the surrounding country and cannot be sold on account of these foreign importations?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

The Minister has just said that the Italian apples have not arrived yet, and therefore they cannot be rotting here.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Are not the Minister's antics in the apple market equalled by his antics in the groundnut market? Is not folly of this kind responsible for our economic crisis?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

No, Sir. I do not consider it folly to import apples.

Photo of Mr Albert Davies Mr Albert Davies , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

Will my right hon. Friend see that the great bulk of the housewives in this country get apples at more moderate prices than those at which they are getting them at present, even if it means importation?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee

I have very great sympathy with my hon. Friend's suggestion.