25 OCTOBER 1930, Page 18

[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—In your issue of

October 18th under the heading of " The Truth about the Cost of Living,". your correspondent makes a number of statements which are so loose that they give one the impression that his knowledge of the subject is elementary, and that he neither knows, nor thinks. I take two statements :- 1. " Strawberries used to be sold at 4c1., 3d. and even 2d. a pound." In previous days inferior fruit may have occa- sionally fetched these low prices, but at the cost of a dead .loss to the grower. The present day cost of selling only, i.e., labour for picking, container, carriage to market, market toll and commission is 4d. per lb. The average wholesale market price received this year was just over ad. per lb. and out of this twopenny margin the grower has to lay down the

bed (175 per acre) and keep it cultivated for its three years' life. On a weight per acre of 25 cwt., how can this be done ? The grower must get a minimum of 8d. per lb. to exist.

2. " A great fuss was made this year over dumping by Dutch growers of blackcurrant pulp for jam. Why do not our farmers pulp their currants instead of complaining?" I'll tell you. Growers have to face an unrestricted import of over 10,000 tons of foreign fruit, partly fresh and partly preserved in lime bisulphite.

How can we " pulp " when the price at which the foreign pulp was dumped was less than our labour, cost of picking, to say nothing of packages, transport, cost of growing and cultivation ? For two reasons blackcurrant growing has been a tragedy, and the only course open to growers is the one they have taken—let the fruit drop and (later) destroy their plantations. Is it to be wondered at that they complain ?-..