HC Deb 16 April 1923 vol 162 cc1675-6

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether any experiments have been carried out to ascertain the value to the British farmer of any of the phosphatic manures derived from the deposits on Nauru and Ocean Islands; and if he can state the results of any such, experiments?

The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir Robert Sanders)

Experiments with these phosphates were begun in 1921 at two centres, and in 1922 at 50 centres. The season of 1921 was unfavourable. The results for the season of 1922 arc rot yet fully available, and in any case are not likely to be conclusive. As soon as sufficient information has been obtained, the results will be published.


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that, during the two and a half years ending 31st December last, the amount of phosphates imported into this country from Nauru and Ocean Islands was approximately one-seventh only of the amount to which we are entitled under the agreement with the Dominions of Australia and New Zealand; whether he will state the terms on which these phosphates are consigned to this country and the firms to whom they are consigned; and whether he will introduce some scheme whereby the cost of phosphatic manures may be cheapened for the British farmer by the use of the large supplies available from this source.?


As regards the first part of the question, the amount of phosphate imported from Nauru and Ocean Islands during the period in question was about one-tenth of the quota to which the United Kingdom is entitled under its agreement with Australia and New Zealand. With regard to the second part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Armagh on the 20th February last. The question of securing the introduction of this material for the benefit of British agriculture is under constant consideration.


Can the right lion. Gentleman say what one-tenth of the quota is in tons?


I must have notice of that question.