§ 54. Sir P. MAGNUS
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture, whether, having regard to the fact that the average quantity of potatoes annually imported into this country exceeds 3,000,000 cwts., the estimated value of which is about £1,250,000, and having regard also to a further possible rise in the price of wheat and flour, the Board of Agriculture will invite landowners and land occupiers, not necessarily farmers, to sow during the next few weeks any available land not otherwise cultivated with seed potatoes, with a view to increasing during the coming autumn the supply of food for the people of this country?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Sir Harry Verney)
While the import figures given are correct, it must be borne in mind that the average export for the five years 1909–13 amounted to 2,946,000 cwts. In both cases the quantities bear a very small proportion to the total potato crop in this country. The 1914 crop was well above the average and with the usual imports of early potatoes should fully suffice for home requirements. The Board are of opinion that all occupiers of land would be well advised to increase its productivity as much as possible, and the Board believe that they are generally adopting all the means in their power to do so.