HC Deb 07 March 1940 vol 358 cc580-1W
Sir R. Gower

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is now able to give any estimate of what proportion of the 1939 British apple crop was wasted by inadequate gas storage facilities; and what steps are being taken to remedy this deficiency during the current year?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I am afraid no reliable estimate can be given of the surplus apple crop in 1939 for which methods of economic disposal could not be found. The markets were unable to absorb the abnormally large crops of early maturing varieties of cooking apples and losses occurred. These are, however, not usually place in stores but sent direct from the orchard to the market. Later maturing varieties also produced a record crop and were placed in gas stores, in barns and other farm premises to await sales in the markets during later periods of the year. Where the stores were not frost proof some loss was incurred by the abnormally severe weather. As regards the second part of the Question, I would point out that over 100 gas stores have been built either on the farms or at the co-operative packing stations and these stores have a capacity for over 1,000,000 bushels. I am satisfied with the progress made by the industry in providing these stores and I do not feel that action on the part of the Government is called for at present.

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