36. Colonel RUGGIES-BRISE
asked the Minister of Agriculture what measures the Government proposes to take to ensure to the potato growers of this country a more reasonable price level both for the main crop now being marketed, and for the prospective new crop, in view of the importations of potatoes from other countries?
§ The Minister of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Elliot)
As my hon. and gallant Friend will be aware, the assistance afforded to the potato industry by Custom duties has been supplemented since August last by voluntary arrangements for regulating the supply of main crop potatoes from foreign countries. These arrangements appear to have been fully observed and to have worked well, and have been generally appreciated by home growers. The question whether similar action should now be taken in regard to the supply of foreign early potatoes has been examined by the Market Supply Committee, in the light of the general supply situation and the low level of prices now ruling. Pending the framing of a permanent plan, it has been decided, after consultation with the Potato Marketing Board, that exporting countries should be invited to help the general situation by securing that their 1807 shipments of early potatoes to this market are held at last year's level. The foreign Governments concerned are being approached accordingly.
Could my right hon. Friend say what would be the total amount of imports of potatoes from foreign countries under this arrangement during a complete period of 12 months?