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Column 135to ensure that the new terms of trade are fair and do not discriminate in any way against British growers or British interests. In addition, we shall seek to ensure that British producers have all the information that they need, as changes occur. In fact, the present well-developed Community re gime for fruit and vegetables gives considerable advantage to this sector.
For growers, 1992 is, in a sense, already here--at least, within the former Community of Ten. We have free trade and generally accepted quality standards and labelling provisions. That is a positive advantage. However, I must add that any advantage that 1992 brings will apply equally to other Community producers. Thus, the industry must continue with its excellent track record of development and adaptation so that it may not just retain but enhance its future share of the market. To compete successfully in the Community and world markets, our growers recognise that they will have to keep abreast of technological change. The public funding of research and development is, I know, uppermost in growers' minds. The Government have announced progressive reductions in contributions, totalling about £30 million over three years, in research and development for near-market research--that close to commercial application. The readjustment should, however, be seen in perspective. The Government remain firmly committed to supporting work which is of public good and that which involves basic and strategic research.
Current funding of agricultural research by the Agriculture Departments is about £120 million. The Department of Education and Science contributes £40 million for more basic research, and a further £40 million is spent on food and fisheries research. That makes a total of more than £200 million, which puts the £30 million into perspective.
This support of the science base provides a platform for future exploitation by industry--and it is best exploited by industry. Like my hon. Friend, I believe that industry is the best judge of what, and how much, work should be done on near-market projects. It knows where the gaps are, and it can see what really needs to be done to meet the needs of the future. It will therefore see the need to invest more in near-market research and development for its own benefit.
My noble Friend the Parliamentary Secretary is holding consultations with every sector of the industry, including horticulture. Further meetings at official level and bilateral discussions are taking place between research establishments and industry representatives to consider what research industry would be willing and able to fund. I can
Column 136assure the House that no final decisions on the future level of Government funding will be made until those discussions are complete.
The lead given by horticulture, and especially the support of the glasshouse sector, in voting for the establishment of a Horticultural Development Council was very encouraging. The HDC is to be congratulated on the progress that it has made in commissioning research and development work to benefit the horticulture industry, including work for the glasshouse sector.
My hon. Friend mentioned Western flower thrip, which is a serious pest that has been present in the United Kingdom since 1987. WFT is now widespread on a range of commercial flower and vegetable crops grown under glass. Nevertheless, I assure my hon. Friend that the Ministry's interest remains. We will find effective chemical and biological means of control of this pest. I know that the industry would like the pesticide product Dynamec to be more widely available for use on WFT, but it has approval under the control of pesticides regulations at only an experimental level. It cannot therefore be given off-label approval, allowing far wider use, now. Such approvals have already been given to a range of other products to control WFT. We have grave doubts about using our limited manpower resources at the plant health and seeds inspectorate in continuing to try to hold the line against a pest which is now so widespread. We have therefore made it clear that the statutory campaign should continue for only a few months more. That will not affect the Ministry's interest in, or research devoted to, finding effective chemical or biological means of controlling the pest.
My hon. Friend expressed concern about the availability of ADAS advice in the Lea valley area. I understand the value that growers place on this advice, particularly in the light of the closure of Lea valley EHS, which they have proved by their readiness to take up ADAS contracts. We fully appreciate the need for a full-time experienced glasshouse adviser at the advisory unit and have every intention of filling the post. In the meantime, the regional protected crops adviser has taken on this role personally, which I think shows our recognition of the need for technical support for Lea valley growers.
The motion having been made after Ten o'clock, and the debate having continued for half an hour, Mr. Deputy Speaker-- adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order. Adjourned at twenty- five minutes past Eleven o'clock.
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