§ 68. Dr. Little
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether in view of the strong protest registered by the Ulster Farmers' Union against the price fixed for maincrop potatoes grown in Northern Ireland as unremunerative and less than the cost of production, as the figures submitted to the Ministry of Food show, he will fix a price which will enable farmers to grow potatoes without incurring loss thereby; and reconsider his decision regarding the loss growers of early potatoes suffered and grant them compensation?
§ Mr. Mabane
The prices to be charged for Northern Ireland maincrop potatoes as from November onwards have not yet been fixed. The decision as to these prices has been delayed in order to permit 886 of the fullest and most careful consideration of the submissions received. With regard to the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on 21st July, to the effect that my Noble Friend cannot accept the implication that growers of early potatoes in Northern Ireland have suffered any loss.
§ Dr. Little
Does the hon. Gentleman recognise that he is asking farmers in Ulster to grow potatoes, and that he is offering less than the cost of production? Will he consider the serious loss, amounting to thousands of pounds, incurred by my own constituents on early potatoes?
§ Mr. Mabane
As I have indicated, the submissions are being very carefully considered at the moment, and the prices for main crop potatoes from November onwards have not yet been fixed. We have no evidence of a loss on the early crop.