HC Deb 02 November 1966 vol 735 cc452-3
34. Mr. Onslow

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking, by legislation or otherwise, to encourage horticultural production, with particular reference to products for export.

59. Mr. John Wells

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to promote horticultural exports.

Mr. Peart

My Department's activities for the benefit of horticultural production include the work of the advisory services and the grants under the Horticulture Improvement Scheme, the scope of which was extended in July this year. Horticultural exports can qualify for the various measures of Government assistance for exporters generally. They will also come within the scope of the British Agricultural Export Council which, with my help and encouragement, was set up earlier this year by industries connected with agriculture.

Mr. Onslow

That all sounds very fine, but is the right hon. Gentleman aware that cuttings are an important horticultural export and that a leading grower of chrysanthemums in my constituency has transferred the whole of his business to the United States because of the policies of this Government?

Mr. Peart

I cannot understand that. Even hon. Members opposite who have carefully followed our horticultural policy must admit that we have done much to help horticulture, and I referred to this in my reply. There may be other reasons.

Mr. Wells

Will the Minister take specific steps to encourage exporters to get through the barriers of health regulations in foreign countries? Second, will his inspectors who have to inspect stocks and then give certificates make sure that they give the certificates in correct form, without slipping up, and, where they do slip up, will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to see that his Department is prepared to pay compensation to the growers who lose?

Mr. Peart

I should have to be very careful about giving a complete answer on compensation, but I shall certainly take note of what the hon. Gentleman has said. I think that it is a new problem.