§ Mr. Pickthall
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what investigation his Department is undertaking into the recent rise in fertiliser prices. 
§ Dr. Howells
[holding answer 31 October 2000]I have been asked to reply.
Although the Department of Trade and Industry monitors price levels for fertilisers, competition investigations are generally matters for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). We are aware that the OFT has received complaints from farmers and their representatives about the prices of fertilisers in the UK. It is now awaiting submission from interested parties in order to determine whether a formal investigation is needed.