§ 86. Commander BELLAIRS
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the warning of the Empire Marketing Board, in its weekly fruit and crop notes of 12th March, that exports of potatoes from Algeria should increase to a final total of 40,000 tons and to reports from abroad that, owing to the prohibition of Russian grain in the Netherlands, the cargoes are to be diverted to England; and whether he proposes to take any action to save British agriculture from this abnormal competition?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of AGRICULTURE (Dr. Addison)
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The statement to which the hon. and gallant Member refers indicates the probable maximum export of potatoes from Algeria. There are no means of estimating what proportion of these will eventually reach this country since a large proportion are re-exported from France. The combined total quantity of potatoes registered as imported from Algeria and France during January and February (the latest figures available) was only about 550 tons. In reply to the last part of the question, my right hon. Friend has nothing to add to previous statements with regard to the importation of foodstuffs.
§ 87. Captain P. MACDONALD
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the prevailing conditions in the agricultural industry, the Government has taken into consideration the question of controlling imports of agricultural produce or of securing in some other way an economic price for the Home product?
§ Dr. ADDISON
Proposals of this nature have been considered by the Government, but my right hon. Friend is not in a position to make any statement on the matter at present.
§ Captain MACDONALD
Do I understand that the Government have no policy for dealing with the importation of foreign produce which is subsidised by other Governments?
§ Mr. SMITHERS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are tons of potatoes in my constituency which are unsaleable because of these imports; and can he do nothing to protect the British farmer?
Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the fact that the Minister of Agriculture, in 607 reply to a question in December last, said that the Government had under consideration the question of a wheat import board for this country; and can he give any approximate date when a decision is likely to be reached?
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Was there not an opportunity of raising this matter yesterday on the Consolidated Fund Bill?