HC Deb 09 February 1944 vol 396 cc1772-3
59. Dr. Little

asked the Minister of Food whether he has considered the figures submitted to him by the Artana and Dromara Young Farmers' Club, County Down, as to the cost of producing one acre of maincrop potatoes where the farmer employs tractor and labour, and the cost on a small farm where horses are used and most of the work done by the farmer and his family, showing a profit of 13s. and a loss of £3 7s. per acre, respectively; and whether, to avoid a shortage of potatoes for the current year, he will urgently fix the price for the 1944 crop at a figure which will give the farmer a fair return for his war-time efforts.

Colonel Llewellin

I have seen the figures to which my hon. Friend refers. The price for Northern Ireland potatoes of the 1944 crop has been fully considered and it has been decided to make no change from the 1943 crop level apart from the reduction in new potato prices and the compensating increase in prices for the months of August and September, 1944, already announced.

Dr. Little

Does my right hon. and gallant Friend not recognise that it is in the interests of the people that sufficient potatoes should be grown? Can he expect this unless he fixes a price that will meet the cost of production and allow a profit commensuate with the cost of production?

Colonel Llewellin

I certainly hope that Northern Ireland will continue to grow a large amount of potatoes. The price is the same this year as it was last year and the year before. The acreage, I am glad to say, has gone up each year under that price.

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