§ Mr. HANCOCK
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that in the western portion of Nottingham it frequently happens that potatoes cannot be obtained at any price, whilst in the immediate neighbourhood there are 9 acres of land from which the potatoes planted last year have not been raised, and are all lost owing to the military authorities taking all the farmer's labour last November and his inability to replace it; and will he initiate iquiries with a view to ascertaining the total acreage from which potatoes planted last year have not been raised?
§ Sir R. WINFREY
From inquiries which the Board have had made in the district, it does not appear that any considerable area of potatoes of last year's crop still remain unlifted in the county of Nottingham, nor have they learned of any area of the size mentioned unlifted within the immediate neighbourhood of Nottingham If, however, my hon. Friend will supply me with further particulars, the Board will have the matter looked into more closely. They do not see their way to comply with the request made in the latter part of the question.
§ Mr. BROOKES
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture who is respon- 2067W sible for the control and distribution of seed potatoes; what is the aggregate of the demands from public authorities and to what extent they have been met; and what is the cause of the delay which is prejudicing sowing prospects for the coming season?
§ Sir R. WINFREY
The distribution of seed potatoes within Great Britain is not controlled, though the prices of them are regulated by Orders made by the Ministry of Food. Seed potatoes may only be exported from Ireland under licences granted by the Department of Agriculture at Dublin. The aggregate demands of those public authorities who placed orders through the Board for seed amount to about 11,000 tons. Provision is being made to meet these demands by purchases which have been made in Scotland and are now being made in Ireland. Long-continued frost and shortage of labour have much delayed delivery, but no effort will be spared to provide potatoes in time for planting. The varieties now on order belong chiefly to the late types, and are well suited for planting throughout April.
§ Captain DONELAN
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he can state the quantity of potatoes shipped from Ireland for the use of the military forces of the Crown during the months of January and February, 1917; whether potatoes continue to be shipped from Ireland for that purpose; and, if so, in what quantities?
§ Mr. FORSTER
The shipments of potatoes from Ireland for the military forces of the Crown were 2,870 tons in January and 2,072 tons in February. Shipments continue to be made at about the same rate. There are also shipments for the Navy.