§ 11 and 12. Sir ARTHUR FELL
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture (1) if it will be possible to procure some sugar-beet seed from France or Spain which could be sold to holders of allotments who are anxious to grow some of this produce for sweetening purposes; and (2) if sugar beet can be crushed in cider or other presses and the juice boiled down in the same way as maple syrup in Canada and a sweet kind of molasses made which, although strong flavoured, will supply a sweetening matter which may prove most useful; and if the Government can issue instructions for its growth and treatment?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Sir Richard Winfrey)
The Board's advisers assure me that a syrup of the kind produced by ordinary crushing and boiling would be of little use as a means of sweetening, and unpalatable on account of the salt and betaine that it would contain. This being so, the Board are not prepared to embark on experiments at a time when every effort should be concentrated on potatoes and other vegetables, the growing of which can be regarded as an 2232 assured success. Though some beet seed is obtainable commercially in this country. the Board consider that the doubtful nature of the results to be obtained would not justify them in seeking to obtain seed for the purpose from foreign sources.
§ Sir A. FELL
May I ask, at any rate, whether an allotment holder should not be entitled to experiment with this seed; and also if it is not a fact that an acre of land sown with sugar beet supplies twice the amount of nutriment as with potatoes?
§ Sir R. WINFREY
Having grown sugar beet myself, I very much doubt whether my hon. Friend is correct. I would point out to him that sugar-beet seed can be obtained in this country by those who wish to try the experiment.
§ Sir R. WINFREY
I informed the hon. Member the other day the Board have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to start the growing of beet for sugar during the War.