§ Joan Ruddock
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment. Food and Rural Affairs if she will fund the provision of organic fruit to school children as part of the national school fruit scheme. 
§ Mr. Meacher
The national school fruit scheme will entitle every child aged 4 to 6 to a free piece of fruit each school day from 2004. The scheme is currently being expanded to all eligible schools through large scale pilots on a region by region basis with funding of £42 million from the new opportunities fund.107W
Since most organic fruit is currently imported, direct funding of the provision of organic fruit would result in increased imports at least in the short-term. However, we shall assist growers to respond to the consumer demand for organically produced fruit by means of a conversion aid which it is intended will start later this year.