HC Deb 04 August 1971 vol 822 c1569
17. Sir J. Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland from information available to him from international sources, how many countries in Europe grow sugar beet in a more northerly latitude than the Scottish Border.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Beet is grown in Denmark and Sweden with yields per acre very much higher than in Scotland. Some beet is also grown in Finland.

Sir J. Gilmour

Would my hon. Friend agree that experience has shown that farmers in Scotland can, over a considerable period of years, grow beet with yields between 17 and 20 tons per acre and that there is no agricultural reason why the beet sugar industry should not be encouraged and retained in Scotland?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Equally, my hon. Friend must realise that the actual yield in Scotland—although certain farmers have achieved high yields—is 12.6 tons per acre. For this reason, international comparisons are not necessarily valid.