19. Mr. W. M. WATSON (for Mr. T. KENNEDY)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the parishes of Strathmiglo, Culross, Falkland, Auchtermuchty and Tulliallan, in Fifeshire, are declared to be infected areas under the Wart Disease of Potatoes (Scotland) Order, 1923; that out of 915 gardens visited and inspected last year only three cases of disease were discovered; and that farmers whose land is within a mile of a garden found to be affected several years ago are still prevented under the Order from marketing their crops in the export market; and whether he can promise any modification of the Order which would remove this hardship, in view of the satisfactory results obtained in the County of Fife from the county council's efforts to control and eradicate the disease?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I am not aware of the number of gardens inspected last year by the local authority's inspector; but since occupiers of gardens are now restricted generally to planting only varieties of potatoes immune from wart disease, the fact that few cases of disease were discovered is not a true index to the condition of the land. The three outbreaks referred to were probably due to a contravention of the Regulations or to the planting of impure seed. Farmers whose land, whether within or without an infected area, is not more than one mile from the nearest known case of wart disease are prevented by the Regulations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries from sending to England seed potatoes of varieties susceptible to wart disease. As no means of eradicating wart disease from the soil has yet been discovered, land which is known to be 197 infected must be regarded ask infected far an indefinite period. I regret that as at present advised I cannot hold out any immediate hope of a relaxation of the present restrictions.