§ Mr. FENBY
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has any information about the extent to which the increased cultivation of beet for the manufacture of sugar has reduced the potato crop and thereby increased the market price of potatoes; and, in view of the Government's inducements to farmers to extend their beet crops, what steps he proposes to take to ensure an adequate supply of potatoes at the prices ruling prior to the introduction of the sugar beet subsidy?
No doubt some land was sown with sugar beet last year which might otherwise have been planted with potatoes, but the effect on the total area of potatoes in the country was not material. I would remind the hon. Member that the area under potatoes last year was somewhat in excess of the average of the 10 years prior to the War, and that the high prices of potatoes in the last two years have been due to comparatively poor yields rather than to a deficiency in the area under cultivation.