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Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1949

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asked the Minister of Food when he expects the supply of bananas to be increased so that they may be purchased by all who want them.

Our imports of bananas are increasing and by longterm contracts and in other ways we are doing what we can to increase them still further. At present, however, the supplies we can get amount to little more than half the pre-war quantity and I am afraid that it may be some time before we have a full supply.

Would the right hon. Lady make a special effort to get more fruit into this country between now and our own fruit growing season in view of the general scarcity of fruit?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in accordance with evidence which I have submitted to her Department, children in the St. John's Wood area, as one example, are not getting the bananas intended for them, and.will she do something about it?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that ample quantities of bananas are obtainable in France at quite reasonable prices for anyone who wants them? Surely we are much more a banana producing Empire at the present time than the French?

May I take it from the right hon. Lady's answer that she regards the banana as a vegetable and not a fruit?