asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will ensure that Irish tomato growers will be paid prices not less than the retail prices for tomatoes imported into Ireland.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tomato Prices.
The maximum retail price of 1/4 per lb. has been fixed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce for imported tomatoes; imported tomatoes bear a customs duty of 2d. per lb. and are selling retail in many places at 1/- per lb.
Irish tomatoes of good quality are selling wholesale in Dublin at from 1/-to 1/2 per lb. and are subject to no fixed maximum price retail or wholesale. I do not believe that fixation of a maximum price for Irish tomatoes is necessary or desirable.
Is the Minister aware that although the growers are receiving only 10d. or 1/- per lb., tomatoes are being retailed at practically double that figure, notwithstanding that the growers have the cost of production to consider?
If it is the case that inequitable prices are being charged retail for tomatoes, having regard to the price paid to the producer, I would suggest that the Deputy should get in touch with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who is in charge of such matters, and direct his attention to it; or, alternatively, that he would suggest to the growers that they should take some co-operative form of marketing tomatoes retail in the city and elsewhere and securing fair prices for themselves.
Is the Minister aware that, in the Dublin market yesterday, the growers of tomatoes in Dublin county received from 5d. to 10d. per lb. while the same tomatoes are being sold in the shops in the city at double and more than double that price? In view of these facts, will the Minister press upon the appropriate quarters the advisability of investigating the whole business of tomato production, distribution and sale in the city and county of Dublin with a view to clearing the erroneous impression which prevails, that the grower is making an extraordinary profit? That is not the case, because the excessive profits that undoubtedly are being charged are going to the retailers.
I shall certainly bring the matters reférred to by Deputy Rooney and Deputy Dunne to the attention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce and I have no doubt they will be made the subject of careful consideration.