HC Deb 02 February 1959 vol 599 cc8-9
14. Mr. Stones

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether his attention has been drawn to the prices of certified Scotch potato seed; whether he is satisfied that they are reasonable; and to what extent he estimates that such prices will militate against production of potatoes, particularly by small producers.

Mr. John Hare

I am aware that prices of seed potatoes are high this season. This is the result of market conditions and reflects the poor yield of potatoes from the 1958 crop. I do not think that these prices will have any significant effect on total production this year.

Mr. Stones

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many competent people in the country are of the opinion that the prices are too high despite the circumstances of last season? Is he further aware that in my division alone certain seedsmen have cut their orders of seed potatoes by 20 per cent. compared with last year, anticipating a like reduction in the demand from local growers?

Mr. Hare

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will give me particulars of the local example that he has in mind. It conflicts with my information, which is that, generally speaking, there is a strong demand at the moment for seed potatoes.

Sir J. Duncan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the prices of seed potatoes will remain high unless he can get a suitable agreement with the Potato Marketing Board quickly, because the arrangements for this year's crop are now being set in train by the farmers?

Mr. Hare

My hon. Friend is right. I am very anxious to get the details ironed out a quickly as possible, and shall continue to press for that to happen.

Back to