HC Deb 09 July 1979 vol 970 cc56-7W
Mr. Lyell

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now announce the support arrangements for potatoes in the coming year.

Mr. Peter Walker

The Government have decided to fix the guaranteed price for potatoes at £44.64 per ton—£43.94 per tonne—the same as for 1978–79.

No surplus is expected from the home crop in the coming season but, with the object of ensuring stability in the market throughout the season, I am asking the Potato Marketing Board to offer producers a contract for a proportion of their crops. The aim will be to remove up to 500,000 tonnes from the market in Great Britain should this prove necessary. Consideration will be given to the need for market support along traditional lines in Northern Ireland when the crop prospects there are clearer.

It will be my intention to hold discussions with the industry once the position concerning a possible EEC potato regulation is clearer.