HC Deb 10 April 1946 vol 421 cc1923-4
55. Mr. Walker-Smith

asked the Minister of Food whether he is satisfied that the home market for lettuces cannot be provided from home production without the necessity of foreign imports.

Sir B. Smith

I am quite satisfied that the home production of lettuce during the periods in which importation is to be permitted will not be sufficient to meet the demand.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he has consulted with the representatives of the growers before coming to this conclusion, and is he aware that there is a feeling among them that this unrestricted importation of foreign lettuces is a poor return for their response to official exhortation for more production?

Sir B. Smith

It is not my province to consult direct with the growers. That is for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture. May I say that the estimated consumption requirements of this country, as against estimated home production are: March requirements 2,000 tons, production 1,200 tons; April requirements 5–8,000 tons, production 3,200 tons; May requirements 14,000 tons, production 6,000 tons. I do not propose to keep this country short of 8,000 tons.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that the importation of these lettuces will be confined to that margin and will not he more than that?

Hon. Members


Mr. Beechman

Will the Minister bear in mind that the home production of fresh salads and vegetables is of nutritional value to consumers and can afford a way of life to producers which is of benefit to the whole nation?

Sir B. Smith

Yes, Sir, I understand that thoroughly, but, on the other hand, I cannot stand by and see lettuces charged for at 2s. 6d. a head.

Mr. Norman Smith

Is not the best lettuce that which one grows oneself?

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