§ 15. Mr. Pardoe
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the use of a light aircraft by the Potato Marketing Board to detect unlicensed potato growers.
§ Mr. Anthony Stodart
This is one of the measures the Board has adopted in order to discharge its responsibilities for preventing evasion of the Potato Marketing Scheme and for keeping actual plantings of potatoes as close as possible to the target acreage.
§ Mr. Pardoe
Does the hon. Gentleman accept that there are two principles at 203 stake? In a world which has its Bangla Deshes, does the hon. Gentleman think it right that one of the most prosperous countries should be limiting artificially its potato supply? Will he confer with his right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary to see whether our potato surplus cannot be used as an instrument in a humane foreign policy? Even if artificial limitation is right and inevitable, is not prevention better than detection? Will the hon. Gentleman ensure that illicit growers are warned by advertising which is at least as effective as that directed towards television licence evaders, before they are caught red-handed by this "spud" spy in the sky?
§ Mr. Stodart
I have no doubt that the hon. Gentleman has secured the headlines he wants for that tomorrow morning.
On the first part of his supplementary question, the potato marketing scheme is necessary and good for this country. Concerning this method of enforcing it, the aircraft is not being used unknown. In any case, I can see no difference between this method and the use of private detectives against pilferers in stores.