§ 36. Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the depressed state of the osier industry; and whether he will assist this industry to find better markets by affording it assistance in organised marketing or by any other methods in his power?
I am aware that there is a depression in the osier industry in certain parts of the country, but this is by no means general. A considerable amount of research work is being done at Long Ashton with regard to the combating of the disease to which osiers are liable, and with a view to the introduction and testing of new varieties of plant. The Rural Industries Bureau, acting in close association with rural community councils in certain counties, e.g., Somerset and Leicester, are doing their utmost to assist and develop the various industries that depend upon osiers, and committees of growers and basket-makers have been set up in those two counties, who are now watching the position, and have already secured a reduction in the railway charges for the conveyance of the raw material.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of the Ministry's very able officials has been going round encouraging people to grow 405 osiers and teaching them how to plant their setts and make osier beds, and now their difficulty is that they are at a loss to know how to sell them? Is not this a waste of effort and could not they be given some assistance in the matter of marketing them?
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman can suggest any way in which further help can be given towards marketing them I shall be very pleased to hear it.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Rural Industries Bureau have suggested in the last issue of their periodical that osiers should be safeguarded, and will he take some steps to this end?