§ Mr. Kenneth Carlisle
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will announce the support arrangements to apply for the 1981 potato crop.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
The Government have decided that the guaranteed price for the 1981 crop should be kept at the existing level of £44.64/ton—£43.94/tonne. In order to maximise the outlets for United Kingdom potatoes it is increasingly important that producers should look to the418W market rather than to the guarantee arrangements for their returns. There is a need for stronger contractual and other links between producers and buyers of potatoes, and an increased awareness of the specific quality requirements of different outlets.
In order to ensure stability in the market throughout the season, the Potato Marketing Board has been asked to offer producers a contract for an increased proportion of their crop. The aim will be to remove up to 600,000 tonnes from the market in Great Britain should this prove necessary.
Consideration will be given to the need for market support in Northern Ireland as necessary.