§ 29. Mr. RONALD ROSS
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the price of main-crop potatoes is at present 1s. 4½d. per cwt. compared with 6s. 4d. per cwt. at a corresponding period last year, and that potatoes to the value of £5,908,838 were imported into the United Kingdom during 1932; and what steps he proposes to take in order to preserve this branch of agriculture?
§ Major ELLIOT
I am aware that the prices ruling for home-grown main-crop potatoes are very low in comparison with those obtained in March, 1932, when prices were high. I would point out, however, that the 1932 main crop was more than sufficient for requirements, whereas in 1931 there was a very short crop. Of the imports in 1932, which were valued at nearly £6,000,000, practically the whole arrived before the home main crop was lifted, and a substantial portion consisted of early potatoes. As regards the last part of the question, a scheme for regulating the marketing of potatoes produced in Great Britain has recently been submitted under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1931, to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and myself, and is receiving consideration.
§ Mr. HANNON
Has not the time come when the Ministry of Agriculture in this country should make provisions so that our potato industry can supply our own market and keep out the foreigner?