HC Deb 10 February 1947 vol 433 cc11-2
20. Mr. W. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Food what contracts have been placed with the U.S.A. for the purchase of grapefruit; and what efforts had been made to obtain supplies from Trinidad, Jamaica and British Honduras.

Mr. Strachey

Contracts have been made for the purchase of about 10,000 tons of grapefruit from the U.S.A. We expect to get rather more than half this quantity from Jamaica and Trinidad. A contract for the supply of about 1,000 tons from British Honduras has unfortunately had to be cancelled owing to extensive damage to the crop by black fly.

Mr. Shepherd

Is the Minister satisfied that the expenditure of dollars on this purchase is justified in present circumstances?

Mr. Strachey

Yes, Sir, I think it is justified. There are limits, of course, to the amount of fruit which we can buy from dollar sources, but it is very important to give the people in this country variety of diet.

Mr. Eden

Could not the money be better spent in consultation with the Minister of Agriculture, in purchasing foodstuffs for our own agricultural industry?

Mr. Strachey

Oh, no, Sir, that is a complete misapprehension.[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Certainly, We should buy every ton of foodstuffs which is available from dollar and other sources and give it a priority far higher than grapefruit, but the limitation here is the amount of supplies.

Captain Crookshank

Could the Minister get a consignment of lemons for the Minister of Fuel and Power?

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