asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what alteration there has been in acreage under sugar beet in each of the last three years to the latest available date.
The areas contracted for sugar beet planting and the areas actually harvested up to the 1978–79 harvest are:
|Areas in hectares|
|(Source: British Sugar Corporation)|
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the United Kingdom sugar beet expansion programme has encountered any serious obstacle and is proceeding as planned.
There is no formal expansion programme but "Food from Our Own Resources" concluded that there was a case on United Kingdom balance of payments and resource use grounds for increasing production, and gave a possible level of production of sugar beet in 1980 of 9,450,000 tons—9,600,000 tonnes. The timing of such an increase was seriously affected by three very bad seasons—1974–75 to 1976–77—which have made it improbable that the projected production for 1980 will be reached by that time.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish in the Official Report the method of payment to sugar beet farmers, including sources of subsidies, etc.
Sugar beet farmers sell their beet on contract to the British Sugar Corporation. There are no subsidies on the growing or marketing of beet. The contract price for beet is based on the EEC minimum beet price, which reflects the support given to the market for sugar through EEC arrangements.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from what sources United Kingdom port refineries received their supply of raw sugar for the year 1977–78; and where they will receive their supply from in 1978–79.
The sources from which the United Kingdom port refineries receive their supply of raw sugar is commercial information which we are not in a position to provide. United Kingdom imports of raw sugar in October-September 1977–78 as taken from the overseas trade accounts are set out in the table below. The bulk of this sugar will no doubt have gone to the port refineries for refining. Whilst we cannot predict future imports of raw sugar, purchases from the ACP countries and other preferential suppliers are the subject of long term contracts which the refiners have with them and are likely to continue in 1978–79.
|Country and Total|
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will consider assisting in the purchase of European raw sugar in the future.
I assume that my hon. Friend's Question relates to Government-financed assistance. Such Government expenditure would not be justified.