HC Deb 28 February 1968 vol 759 cc1390-1
14. Mr. Jopling

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the value and what are the sources of the extra beef imported as a result of the ban on imports of meat from countries where foot-and-mouth disease is endemic.

Mr. Peart

The main sources of beef imports shipped since 4th December last are the Irish Republic, Australia and New Zealand. It is not so far possible to make any useful comparison between actual arrivals and what might have come under different conditions. Nor could I really isolate the effect on total supplies of any single factors such as the suspension of imports from other sources.

Mr. Jopling

What discussions has the Minister had with the Governments of these countries to see whether, in the event of his being able to keep on the ban on imported meat from countries where foot-and-mouth is endemic, they could supply the meat we have been getting from South America in particular?

Mr. Peart

I am always in touch with countries which export meat to us. This is a continuous association.

Sir J. Gilmour

Since Australia has suffered from very severe droughts over the last two years, would the Minister agree that once it has recovered from them there will be scope for importing more meat from Australia?

Mr. Peart

Yes, but I am often pressed by representatives of producers at home not to import any more from the Commonwealth. I am always in touch with Australia and I have great sympathy with her position.