Is my hon. Friend aware that the horticulture industry is facing increasing problems because of domestically homegrown produce? Is he prepared to take steps to ensure that the horticulture industry is given adequate supplies of water at this time? Is he aware that the land settlement in my constituency faces growing problems with water? Will he ensure that the industry is protected during the drought period?
A few minutes ago the Minister said that the Dutch glasshouse growers were no longer receiving a subsidy on fuel oil. Is he aware that the anxiety of British growers is somewhat wider, in that they should be able to compete on fair and equal terms in regard to fuel prices generally with Dutch and other growers in the Community? Is he now asserting that that situation exists? If so, will he set out the relevant figures in the Official Report?
The devaluation of sterling has given enormous protection to our industry against Dutch exports. Imports of tomatoes from Holland this year are down 45 per cent. to date.
I absolutely agree. The least that our industry has a right to expect is fair competition. But we begin to get into difficult areas if we start to talk about taxation arrangements, labour costs and all the other elements which go into the cost of producing tomatoes and other horticultural crops.
The hon. Gentleman raised important points. Prospects for agricultural exports are good, and it is important that the Government should do everything they can to facilitate an expansion of those exports. I cannot tell the hon. Gentleman offhand what proportion of the increase we should like to see coming from horticulture, but there is a rôle to be played by that industry.