HC Deb 03 April 1968 vol 762 cc82-3W
Sir T. Beamish

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, how many tons of French wheat, at what average cost per ton carriage, insurance and freight have been imported during each of the last 12 months; at what price per ton French wheat is being offered at south coast ports; how these prices compare with those in France; and why no action has been taken to stop the dumping of French wheat at a time when British farmers are having difficulty in selling their wheat.

Mr. Hoy

The answer to the first part of the Question is as follows:

Month Thousand tons Average price £ per ton c.i.f.
March 7.5 24.23
April 10.1 24.53
May 5.7 24.86
June 10.5 24.77
July 10.1 24.59
August 16.4 23.58
September 12.4 24.38
October 20.7 22.75
November 32.3 22.27
December 28.9 22.39
January 27.0 24.22
February 33.9 24.06

French milling wheat is today being offered for shipment during May to South Coast ports at £22 15s. per ton, c.i.f., excluding all discharge costs. The difference between the internal French price and the export price is accounted for by a restitution payment which is at present $53 per metric ton or about £22 9s. per long ton.

Since July, 1964 farmers have been protected against excessively low-priced imports of cereals by the minimum import price system, and the current price of French milling wheat is 10s. per ton above the minimum import price for that wheat. An increase in the minimum import prices in the light of the new sterling level of world market prices for cereals following devaluation is at present under discussion with our main overseas suppliers of cereals.

Sir T. Beamish

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, what is his estimate of the tonnage of foreign wheat imported during the last 12 months, showing sources separately, the tonnage of wheat at present unsold by British farmers and the tonnage of unsold wheat in merchants' hands.

Mr. Hoy

The quantity of wheat imported from March, 1967 to February, 1968 inclusive was as follows:

Source Tons
Canada 1,625,397
Netherlands* 596,656
Australia 390,885
U.S.A. 363,537
Rumania 302.635
France 214,842
Argentina 158,963
U.S.S.R. 74,499
Belgium* 66,473
Sweden 21,442
Peru 9,349
Norway* 7,988
Greece 6,848
Bulgaria 4,701
Irish Republic 2,671
West Germany 2,334
East Germany 939
Denmark 714
Kenya 7
Italy 2
Cyprus 1
* The quantity shown as imported from Netherlands, Belgium and Norway includes about 500,000 tons of Canadian, U.S., Australian or Argentine wheat shipped via Dutch, Belgian or Norwegian ports.

At the end of February, stocks of wheat unsold or unused on farms in Great Britain were estimated at 540,000 tons, 14 per cent. of total production. No statistics are available of stocks in merchants' hands.