HC Deb 24 February 1920 vol 125 cc1484-5
78. Major WHELER

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture whether there is likely to be a shortage of potatoes prior to the 1920 crop being available for use; and whether, in view of the probable further shortage of the 1920 crop, he will consider the desirability of modifying the Wart Disease Order so that potato growers may plant King Edwards, Arran Chiefs, and Up-to-dates in clean and non-infected land in the coming season?


I have ascertained, in consultation with the Ministry of Food, that there probably will be a shortage of home-grown potatoes prior to the 1920 crop becoming available, but it is hoped to reduce the shortage as much as possible by importations from abroad. It is not possible at the present time to give any estimate of the 1920 crop which will depend on the acreage planted, and the weather conditions prevailing during the growing period. No alteration of the Wart Disease Order is contemplated which will affect in any way the varieties of potatoes planted during the coming season, but the Technical Advisers of the Ministry are giving careful consideration to the question of an alternative policy which may give certain concessions to the grower without endangering the further spread of the disease.


Is it not the fact that general indications show that there will be very much less acreage of potatoes planted this year?


I do not think we have got data at the present moment to come to that conclusion.