§ 53. Mr. Little
asked the Minister of Supply whether in view of the urgent need for a larger acreage of flax next year, he is aware of the dissatisfaction expressed by the flax committee of the Ulster Farmers' Union at the price fixed for the 1939 flax crop; and whether, owing to the increased cost of production, he will consider fixing a more generous guaranteed price, and affording a readier market for the flax crop of 1940, as otherwise the farmers will grow food-crops instead of flax?
§ Mr. Burgin
I am satisfied that the price at which I am acquiring this year's flax crop is fair to the producer, though I appreciate that he would have preferred a higher price. The question of guaranteeing a price for the 1940 crop is at present under consideration, and I will give full attention to the considerations to which my hon. Friend refers.
§ Mr. Little
In fixing the price of flax has account been taken of the greatly increased cost of production, between 300 and 400 per cent. within my own knowledge, and also of the difficulty of getting workers to handle the flax crop, which is one of the most risky and costly crops grown in Ireland?
§ Mr. Burgin
The average price per ton before the war was £70 to £80. The price I am paying this year is, on an average £110, and I think that has taken into account the difficulties to which the hon. Member refers.