HC Deb 24 October 1947 vol 443 cc7-8W
Sir E. Graham-Little

asked the Minister of Agriculture in view of the present food situation, what action he proposes to take against those responsible for ploughing up Mr. Frank Dennis's field of buckwheat on 16th September last; whether he will allow Mr. Dennis to have recourse to an independent arbitrator to determine whether the Suffolk War Agriculture Executive Committee's order was a proper one; and whether, in view of the assurances given to Parliament during the passage of the Agriculture Act, he will take steps to avoid such action in regard to established farmers.

Mr. T. Williams

Under the Buckwheat, Millet and Canary Seed (Control of Cultivation) Order, 1947, the growing of buckwheat is prohibited except with the consent of the county war agricultural executive committee, and if consent is given it is normally granted only for small acreages. Although buckwheat can be, and is, used for the feeding of poultry, a substantial proportion of even the limited quantity which is so grown is in fact sold at high prices for the feeding of caged birds. Where, therefore, buckwheat, canary seed, or millet has been illegally grown without consent and the crop is still in a green state, it has been the practice, with my approval, to require the crop to be ploughed in, in order to ensure that the grower secures no profit from his illegal action. It is proposed to take proceedings against Mr. Dennis for contravention of the Order, and Mr. Dennis will therefore have an opportunity of bringing the facts of the case before a court of law. As regards the last part of the Question, if I understand the hon. Member aright, the assurances to which he refers do not apply to a case of this kind.

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