§ 73. Colonel DAY
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he can state the approximate stock of hops at present unsold; whether he has received any notification from Mid-Kent hopgrowers of their intention to reduce the acreage of hop cultivation this year; and whether any action is contemplated in this regard?
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Guinness)
Approximately 106,000 cwts. of hops of 1924 and previous years' growths remain unsold. I have no information as to the balance of 1925 hops which axe unsold. With regard to the second part of the question, I understand that a scheme to secure, if possible, a 10 per cent. reduction of acreage is being organised by English Hop 2293 Growers Limited, on a voluntary basis. The hon. and gallant Member will be aware that my responsibility with regard to hops ceased in August, 1925, when the Hop Control terminated.
§ Mr. THURTLE
Will the right hon. Gentleman bring pressure to bear upon brewers to use hops in the brewing of beer?
Will the right hon. Gentleman bring pressure to bear upon Kent farmers to grow wheat, instead of hops?
§ Mr. PALING
Are we to assume that the duty put on imported hops last year has been of no benefit to the Mid-Kent growers?
§ Mr. GUINNESS
No; I do not think any such assumption is to be drawn from these figures. I do not see that any loss need have been suffered by those who had 1924 hops, seeing the very large size of the crop and the fact that they all received 80 per cent. of the value.
§ Mr. PALING
Was it not argued in the Debate on that duty that the putting on of the duty would increase rather than decrease the acreage under cultivation?