§ Mr. Osborne
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in view of the large potato surplus, what acreage of potatoes he proposes for the coming season; and how this compares with last year's acreage.
§ Mr. Godber
It is not the policy of the Government to determine or to recommend what acreage of land should be planted with potatoes.
§ Mr. Wade
asked the Minister of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food (1) what quantities of potatoes were exported from the United Kingdom by the Potato Marketing Board in the months ended 31st December, 1955, 31st January, 1956, and 29th February, 1956, and in the months ended 31st December, 1956, 31st January, 1957, and 28th February, 1957; and what were the total prices obtained, free on board, for the respective quantities of potatoes so exported;
(2) what was the difference between the prices received by the Potato Marketing Board on sale free on board for potatoes exported in the months ended 31st December, 1955, 31st January, 1956, and 29th February, 1956, and in the months ended 31st December, 1956, 31st January, 1957, and 28th February, 1957, and the prices paid by the Potato Marketing Board to producers for such potatoes; and to what extent the difference was made up by subsidy.
§ Mr. Godber
In the year 1955–56, the Potato Marketing Board sold no potatoes for export, and exported none on its own account. This year when there is a large surplus the Board has sold substantial quantities for export for purposes other than human consumption. These transactions, which are continuing, are of a commercial character, and it would not be in the public interest to disclose details. Producers of exported potatoes receive the appropriate guaranteed price, and the loss resulting from these transactions is met as to 95 per cent. by the Exchequer and as to 5 per cent. by the Board.63W
Prices charged by the Board for surplus potatoes sold for purposes other than human consumption are calculated to yield approximately the same net return, irrespective of whether the potatoes are exported or are used in this country.