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J. D. B. News Letter

May 24, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Grapes, shaddocks and potatoes from Palestine have, during the past year, been the objects of special investigations by the Empire Marketing Board. Experimental shipments of these commodities have been consigned direct to scientists in London and Liverpool, who have met the shipments on the docks, examined and reported on them, and made recommendations likely to be of great value to Palestine producers who aim at supplying the United Kingdom with fruit and vegetables which will be thoroughly acceptable to Covent Garden.

A full account of these experimental shipments is contained in three reports just issued by the Empire Marketing Board, one dealing with grapes, one with pomeloes, or shaddocks, and one with potatoes.

The consignment of grapes was the second to be examined by the Board’s scientists, and arrived at the Tilbury docks, London, on August 13th of last year. The majority of these were of the Dabouki variety from Berbera, and this is, in the opinion of the scientists, the most suitable variety for the British market. After a general examination, the fruit was sold in London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, in order to test the market in different parts of the country; and reports were made on the condition of the fruit by leading firms of brokers and distributors in the various centers.

Wastage, the scientists found, was mainly due to dropping of the berries and to fungal rotting. In some cases as much as 80-90 per cent of the fruit dropped from the bunch on removal from the case. Both types of wastage were associated, to some extent, with over maturity of the fruit, and the experts concluded that it could be considerably reduced by earlier harvesting. They recommend strongly that the keeping qualities of grapes picked at various stages of maturity should be investigated in Palestine.

Shoter reports on shaddocks and potatoes have also been issued by the Empire Marketing Board. A case containing 16 shaddocks in excellent condition was received on January 13th, 1928, but leading fruit salesmen in London and Liverpool considered that the fruit would have difficulty in creating a market for itself, largely on account of its size. A consignment of Palestine potatoes-“King Edwards” and “Royal Kidneys”-arrived on May 26th, 1928. “Royal Kidneys” won the approval of the trade, in spite of the fact that both varieties were rather over mature, and the advice of the Board is to concentrate on this variety for the British market. A trade in early potatoes from Palestine-provided the tubers are lifted earlier-appears to have distinct possibilities, and the (Continued on Page 4)

The work of the Board’s scientific officers is already familiar to Palestine through their research into the wastage of Jaffa oranges, and the experimental orange shipments arranged with the object of estimating the extent of damage, and finding out how best to check such troubles as blue mould, green mould and stem-end rot.

Palestine is not, however, the only country to benefit by the fruit department of the Empire Marketing Board. Experimental shipments reach the London and Liverpool docks from all corners of the Empire. Peaches, plums and pears from Canada, fruit and orange pulp, almonds and grapes from Cyprus, pineapples from Zanzibar and Kenya, potatoes from Bermuda, tomato puree from the Bahamas, have been examined and reported on.

Covent Garden is a magnet which attracts fruit from all parts of the world, and the United Kingdom imports more than any other country. A colony or mandated territory anxious to start the export of a new fruit to the British market must face keen competition: and during the early stages of its career the new export trade needs careful nursing. It is here that the Empire Marketing Board steps in, and acts as guide, philosopher, and friend to the infant industry. By examining and reporting on small experimental cargos, the experts can give valuable advice to the grower as to the requirements of the market, for “study your market” is the first axiom in the laws of success. They can also indicate in what directions the fruit should be improved: they have their fingers on the pulse of the trade, and can form an opinion as to the most helpful lines of development: and they can save the trouble and expense of a big commercial consignment which might, through lack of knowledge of some detail, result in nothing but a loss to the producer.

In this way the Empire Marketing Board is working steadily to help the Colonies and mandated territories to develop to the full their natural resources, and to avoid the pitfalls which yawn before all newcomers to a sternly competitive market. Of course, the activities of the Board do not end here. The fruit department’s investigations are but one aspect of the work undertaken to further the marketing of Empire products in the United Kingdom. To achieve this object the Imperial Government has set aside a sum up to £1,000,000 a year to be administered by the Empire Marketing Board in various ways. Up to the present the Board’s activities have been directed mainly towards an extensive poster and press advertising campaign, the financing of scientific research calulated to improve the production and transport of Empire commodities. and economic inquiries and reports; and the smaller colonies and mandated territories have benefited from the Board’s work in these three fields no less than the Dominions.

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