HC Deb 14 February 1949 vol 461 c770
27. Mr. Butcher

asked the Minister of Food if he will give an assurance that it is his policy for a substantial portion of the onions available next winter to be home produced.

Mr. Strachey

The bulk of the home crop of bulb onions is marketed in the autumn. This year's production is about 16 times pre-war and it will no doubt remain large. But we cannot rely on home production to provide more than a small part of our winter as distinct from our autumn supplies.

Mr. Butcher

In view of the small part which the home production provides, could the right hon. Gentleman explain his failure to provide a market this year?

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir. In the autumn the home production provides a much larger part. It is in the winter, with which the hon. Member's Question deals, that it plays a small part.

Mrs. Castle

In view of the great popularity of the Spanish onion, will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that he will do nothing to rob the people of the onion of their choice?

Mr. Strachey


Mr. G. Williams

In order not to discourage farmers from growing onions, will the Minister make use of the Market Supplies Committee to give him advice about the import of onions?

Mr. David Renton

Will the right hon. Gentleman say when autumn ends and winter begins for the purpose of the extraordinary argument he has advanced?

Mr. Strachey

For the purpose of this argument, it might be said that it is the day before that on which we prohibit the import of onions.

Mr. Baldwin

If the right hon. Gentleman does not want home-grown onions, will be consult with the Minister of Agriculture and ask him to tell the farmers that they are not to produce any onions for the autumn?

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