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Sugar

Volume 886: debated on Thursday 20 February 1975

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43.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the damage to the Mauritius sugar crop and indicate whether this will in any way affect shipments of sugar from the Southern Hemisphere, which he negotiated in January.

I understand that, although sugar remaining in store from last year's crop is virtually unaffected, the recent hurricane caused substantial damage to the cane which will be harvested later this year. The arrangements negotiated between the ACP countries and the EEC last month provide that, subject to relief in case of "force majeure", 66,000 tons of sugar is due to be shipped from Mauritius by 30th June 1975 and thereafter a fixed quota, probably 500,000 tons, in each July-June year. There is no reason to believe that shipments up to 30th June will be affected and a good prospect that the whole, or at least a high proportion, of the total quota for the ensuing 12 months will be supplied.

45.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from what countries sugar supplies will be coming in 1975; and what forecast he has made of the United Kingdom domestic requirement for sugar used domestically and industrially.

The main sources of imported sugar in 1975 will be the member countries of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement until its expiry at the end of this month; the sugar-producing members of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries (ACP), which have recently agreed the terms of a convention with the Community; other member States of the Community; and third countries providing sugar under the Community's import subsidy scheme.It is difficult at this stage to make a precise estimate of domestic sugar consumption in 1975, but it is not expected to vary significantly from the past average.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement assessing the amount of the EEC subsidy to Britain's sugar purchases in 1975.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Members for Mid-Oxon (Mr. Hurd) and Dorset, West (Mr. Spicer) earlier today.