§ MR. MOLTENO (Dumfriesshire)
To ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the Board of Agriculture, whether he can state upon what information the county of Dumfries was scheduled as affected with the potato disease known as black scab; whether any notification has been received during the current year of the occurrence of this disease; whether he can state if any steps where taken to verify the notification when first made, and the date of this notification; upon receiving the notification, was an expert sent down to make any examination or inquiry on the spot; was any communication made to the authorities on the spot, such as the County Agricultural Committee; was the locality placed under observation and were any steps taken to deal with and eradicate the disease or circumscribe the area of its occurrence; has any notification been received this year in regard to the occurrence of this disease, and, if so, will he state the neighbourhood in which such disease has occurred and whether any steps have been taken to investigate and report upon this occurrence; whether he is aware of the injury which has been done to the county by placing the whole county in a schedule as if such county were affected throughout; and whether, in view of the fact that the only case reported occurred in a garden last year and that no case has been reported this year from any part of the county, and in view of the injury which has been done by this notification, the Board will be 726 prepared to make public all the circumstances connected with this case
(Answered by Sir Edward Strachey.) The county of Dumfries has not been scheduled as affected with warty disease of potatoes, but the fact that the disease exists there has been notified to the Press with the view of reminding potato growers that black scab is a notifiable disease under the Destructive Insects and Pests Order of 1908. A notification of the existence of the disease in a garden was received in August last from a potato grower in the county, and the specimen forwarded by him was certified as being affected with black scab by the Board's expert advisers at the Royal Gardens, Kew. The owner was advised as to the nature, prevention, and remedy of the disease. Neither the County Agricultural Committee nor any other local authority are charged with any duties under the Order, and no communication was therefore made to them. An inspector has visited the locality and made a tour of inspection, and though he has found the existence of the disease in two other gardens he has no reason to suppose that it has spread to the farms of the county. The Board, in accordance with their usual practice in dealing with outbreaks of disease, do not propose to publish the names and addresses of the owners of the gardens where the disease exists, but so far as they are aware it has not affected the field crops in this county, and there is no need for alarm.