HC Deb 06 July 1950 vol 477 cc634-5
51. Mr. M. Philips Price

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the importance of meeting foreign competition by better grading and packing of apples and of the lack of standardisation existing in many fruit markets throughout the country, he will take steps to see that the grades and methods of packing recommended by his Department are known throughout the principal apple markets.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Thomas Williams)

I am satisfied that effective steps have been taken by my Department, acting in conjunction with the national organisations of producers and of the wholesale and retail fruit trades, to ensure that the recommended standard grades and packs for home grown dessert and culinary apples are made known to producers and packers and to the distributive trades.

Mr. Price

As I was not able to hear a word of that answer, could my right hon. Friend say whether he will give special attention to the markets of the west of England, where the best apples of the country are grown?

Mr. David Renton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that advances in the grading and packing of fruit are being prevented by the lack of suitable packing-case materials, and will he tell the House what steps he is taking to improve that situation?

Mr. Williams

I should not say that grading has been altered by want of packing materials.

Mr. Nabarro

In making that reply, surely the right hon. Gentleman has overlooked the fact that there is in the Question on the Order Paper a reference to the packing of apples as well as grading. Is it not a fact that in Worcestershire, one of the principal apple producing areas, grading and packing is almost impossible on a good scale, because of the acute shortage of suitable timber and fibre board?

Mr. Williams

That has nothing to do with the Question on the Order Paper, to which I have replied.

Mr. Nabarro

But it says"packing."