HC Deb 15 March 1938 vol 333 cc195-6
21. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware of the need for the breeding of improved varieties of potatoes in Scotland; and whether he is prepared to encourage such activity by the Department of Agriculture and by offering inducements to other workers in this sphere?

Mr. Elliot

I am aware of the importance of the breeding of new varieties of potatoes in Scotland and much work in this connection has been, and is being, done. Research on this subject has been carried out since 1921 by the Scottish Society for Research in Plant Breeding which was established with State assistance and which receives an annual grant from State funds towards maintenance costs. In addition the Seed Testing and Plant Registration Station maintained by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland offers facilities for the testing, in respect of quality, of new varieties of potatoes raised by the Plant Breeding Station and by private individuals. Growing trials are also conducted at the Department's station and new varieties of general excellence and freedom from disease are granted the Department's certificate of registration.

Mr. Mathers

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that smallholders and others would make a hobby of this sort of thing, if proper inducements were held out to them; and does he not see the possibilities of development along those lines?

Mr. Elliot

I will consider that suggestion.

Mr. George Griffiths

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a new cross-bred potato was produced during last week called the Hitler-Mussolini-Austria potato?