§ Mr. Jackson
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will instruct the war agricultural executive committees to allow more latitude to smallholders in suitable districts, in the planting of fruit, as in many cases where the growing of vegetables has been substituted the financial results have been disastrous?
I assume that my hon. Friend refers to bush and cane fruits, which, with strawberries, are the only kinds which could produce a return within a limited period. Growers are already entitled to plant without permission such fruits, excluding strawberries, to the full extent of the acreage grown in 1939, and this acreage may be exceeded in exceptional cases if the written consent of the County War Agricultural Executive Committee is obtained. In the case of strawberries, permission to plant must be obtained from the county war agricultural executive committees, and such permission is confined to approved stocks. I do not think it desirable to encourage a further extension of soft fruit production in present circumstances. I might add that a remunerative market for certain vegetable crops, such as onions, is now assured.
§ Mr. Jackson
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will include the growing of fruit in the "Grow more food" campaign, now that his Department has recognised its value in our national diet?
As fruit trees or bushes cannot furnish any appreciable contribution to the food supply within a reasonable time, I do not feel justified in encouraging new plantings, although I agree that every effort should be made to secure the maximum output from existing trees or bushes, and this is indeed one of the objectives of the campaign.