HC Deb 21 May 1947 vol 437 cc2325-7
51. Mr. Gammans

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that growers of oranges and grapefruit in Jamaica receive only approximately 6s. and 5s. per box, respectively, for oranges and grapefruit; that the price at which this fruit is sold to the public is approximately 50s. per box; and if he will give figures showing at each stage of the purchase of these fruit by his Department how the difference is made up.

Dr. Summerskill

Supplies of oranges and grapefruit imported into the United Kingdom from Jamaica are purchased from the Jamaican Government on an f.o.b. basis and I have no information about the price received by the grower. As I have stated on previous occasions, I am not prepared to disclose prices paid by my Department for particular purchases, but with permission, I will arrange for the other information for which the hon. Member asks so far as it relates to sales within the United Kingdom and to the types of container most commonly used for oranges and grapefruit imported from Jamaica, to be printed in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Gammans

What justification is there for the hon. Lady not producing these figures, since whatever mandate she may have to subject the people of this country to bulk purchase there is no reason why the people of Jamaica should not be given the information?

Dr. Summerskill

My Department is the biggest trading concern in the world, and we have the same justification as any astute business man for withholding the prices we pay.

Mr. E. P. Smith

Can the hon. Lady say whether the Colonial Office intervenes in any way between the price paid here for grapefruit and that which the grower receives?

Dr. Summerskill

The question refers to Jamaica alone.

Mr. Gallacher

When making bulk purchases of these commodities, would not the Minister consider using the Co-operatives for the purpose of distribution and thus cut out a whole lot of other people?

Mr. Gammans

Is the hon. Lady aware that the analogy she uses is not in the least a fair one because the growers have no

Type of package. F Weight Group. 79-83 lbs. net. Average Weight. 81 lbs. net. Grade 1st Condition
s. d.
First-hand selling price 41 0 per package
Wholesale margin 2 6 per package
Wholesale selling price 43 6 per package
Retail margin 10 6 per package
Retail selling price 54 0 per package