HC Deb 14 June 1920 vol 130 c916W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture whether he is aware of the difficulty in obtaining basic slag and other fertilisers necessary for increasing the food supply of the country; and if he can take any steps to increase the supply so urgently required?


I am aware that there is a shortage of basic slag, but, as I explained on 2nd December, 1919, in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, the shortage is primarily due to the greatly increased demands. I am, however, informed that supplies for the coming season are expected to be substantially greater than during last season. The Minister of Agriculture is taking every possible step to augment supplies, and has recently appointed a Committee to consider the improved methods of manufacture and use of basic slag. With regard to other fertilisers, I see no reason to expect a shortage during the coming season, except in the case of potash, provided that powers to control export are continued, for which purpose a Bill is now before Parliament. As regards potash, supplies of which depend largely on labour, fuel, and transport conditions on the Continent, I fear that it must be admitted that there is a world shortage of this fertiliser at the present time.