HC Deb 01 August 1890 vol 347 cc1540-1

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the suitability of large tracts of land in Great Britain and Ireland to the growth of sugar beet; whether he is aware that the necessary capital for promoting the establishment of such an industry would be immediately forthcoming upon the ratification of the Sugar Convention, and the consequent abolition of bounties; and whether, in view of the existing agricultural depression, and the fact that few crops would give so large a profit per acre and open up such extensive employment to the agricultural population as sugar beet, Her Majesty's Government would give the matter their serious consideration?


I believe there is no doubt that there are large tracts of land suitable to the growth of sugar beet in England and Ireland. Experiments have been made from time to time in both countries, and there is ground for believing that where the climate is suitable, especially in the southern parts of England and Ireland, it can be grown with success, provided the price is sufficiently remunerative. I apprehend that capital in this country would be always forthcoming to promote the establishment of any industry which offered reliable security for a remunerative interest. I have no special information as to capital being forthcoming in this case, and whether such security would be offered by the ratification of the Sugar Convention I am really unable to say. That is a question, I think, which can only be settled by experience. It is, however, a subject of great interest. I am endeavouring to make myself more fully informed than I am at present as to the conditions required for the successful cultivation of sugar beet in the United Kingdom; and my hon. Friend may be assured that anything which promises a successful opening for British agriculture will at all times command my serious attention.