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Bananas (Drying)

Volume 390: debated on Wednesday 2 June 1943

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31.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether research has been conducted into the possibility of drying or otherwise preserving the nutritive value of the banana; and whether use could be made of such a process, when shipping becomes available, during the war?

In addition to the known methods of drying bananas, both ripe and unripe, I understand that the newer techniques of the dehydration of foodstuffs have also been applied to bananas with satisfactory results. Whether bananas dried by this or any other means can be placed on the United Kingdom import programme is a matter for determination in the light of the competing claims for shipping space of similar types of foodstuffs, which is the responsibility of my Noble Friend the Minister of Food.

Is it not extremely important from the point of view of the economy of the West Indies and the Colonies generally that my right hon. and gallant Friend should make the arrangement himself with the Minister of Food?

My hon. Friend is no doubt aware that at the moment we purchase the banana crop in Jamaica. From the point of view of economy, whether the bananas go into the stomachs of Jamaicans or in dehydrated form into the stomachs of the people in the United Kingdom does not matter.

Is the Minister aware that a great deal of the research which has been done with regard to the preservation and drying of bananas has been challenged and that a great amount of further research is necessary?