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Bananas

Volume 486: debated on Monday 9 April 1951

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38.

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware of the concern at the derationing of bananas; and what additional supplies have been received or expected to enable their derationing.

I am not aware of any widely expressed concern at the lifting of the restrictions on the distribution of bananas. Bananas have no special nutritional value and plentiful supplies of many other fruits are now available. Gradually increasing quantities are being imported, but supplies may not always fully meet the demand.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the trade was very surprised that this action was taken? Mothers and very old people feel that bananas will be even scarcer than the well-publicised Webb sausages. If that is found to be so, will rationing be reimposed?

Is it not correct that bananas are a much less valuable food than home-produced apples?

Is the Ministry purchasing fewer bananas from Jamaica this year than last year?

In view of that, can the hon. Gentleman say why an order was published last week stating that only people over 70 or under 16 would be allowed to by them?

43.

asked the Minister of Food the result of his negotiations with Commonwealth countries for importing bananas; and whether there is any possibility of the present restrictions on the sale of bananas being lifted.

We have agreed to take 85 per cent., or more at seller's option, of Jamaica's exportable surplus of bananas up to the end of 1954. We have also contracted to take during 1951 the exportable surpluses from the British Cameroons and Sierra Leone and part of the Dominica supplies. The restrictions on the distribution of bananas were removed on 2nd April, but price control has been continued.