§ 42. Mr. Emrys Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has for encouraging the production of new potatoes in Scotland.
§ Mr. J. Stuart
I presume that the Question refers to early potatoes. The estimated acreage of first early potatoes planted in Scotland for this year's crop is the highest since 1950. It would seem that present market conditions are encouraging.
§ Mr. Hughes
Is the Minister aware that farmers who grow early potatoes think he has been rather late in his action in dealing with the big importation of Cyprus potatoes? Is he aware that it is not encouraging farmers to grow potatoes if the potatoes are then left to rot in the soil? What answers are we to give to indignant farmers about his action?
§ Mr. Stuart
Only about 8 per cent. of the total supply of early potatoes is imported, so that it is not a very large figure.
§ Mr. Manuel
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this question of early seed potatoes in Scotland is of very great importance? What steps is he taking to see that we do not lose further orders for seed potatoes in Scotland, because we certainly are losing orders for seed potatoes which we used to have.