§ Mr. HUGH LAW
(by Private Notice) asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food if he will explain why the guaranteed price of potatoes grown in Ireland in 1918 as first announced have been fixed on a different basis from that previously stated in the case of England; whether he is aware that great dissatisfaction has already been expressed by representative bodies of Irish farmers, and that any unfair discrimination against them in this matter, in combination with the existing grievance of the smaller farmers arising out of the prohibition of pooling under the 1917 scheme, is likely to result in a diminution of acreage under potatoes this year; and whether the whole question will be reconsidered
The experience of the past season has shown that it is a mistake to fix a price for potatoes to the Irish grower on terms analogous to those given to English and Scottish growers, because the grower's price for in Great Britain includes payment for certain services, such as the dressing, grading, and bagging of potatoes, which it is not the practice of most Irish farmers who grow for export to render. For this reason, and also in order to ensure the effective control of consignments sent forward for export, the Food Controller has decided, after consultation with the Irish Department of Agriculture, to buy Irish potatoes next season on a f.a.s. basis from approved committees representing growers and dealers, instead of buying direct from individual growers on a f.o.r. basis.