asked the Minister of Food (1) whether he is aware that consternation exists among growers of early potatoes at the fixing of the controlled price of £14 per ton, and that, in view of the fact that many growers have paid more than this per ton for seed alone of the early varieties, plus heavy charges for delivery, have the extra work, and take the extra risk of frost to which early potatoes are exposed, it is impossible to grow them at this price without loss; and, seeing that the price in 1918 for earlies was £24 per ton, which did not leave any undue profit, he will consider the advisability of reconsidering the price fixed if he wishes to get supplies grown; (2) whether the controlled price of £14 per ton for the 1920 potato crop includes early potatoes?
§ Mr. McCURDY
The scale of maximum prices which will come into operation on the 15th instant applies only to the 1919 crop. The question of the necessity of fixing prices for the 1920 crop has not yet been considered.
§ Sir A. FELL
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture if he can take steps to urge the allotment holders to plant as large an acreage of potatoes as possible this spring, having regard to the shortage of supplies and the probable increase in the price of bread; and if they can be asked to give up sowing crops this year which are not of the same high food value as potatoes, which should be substituted for them?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
The Ministry are not aware that there is likely to be a shortage of potatoes of the 1920 crop. They have recently issued a model scheme for the cropping of an allotment which allows over one-third of a 10-rod plot to be planted with potatoes, and they are of opinion, having regard to the difficulties which are experienced by many allotment holders in providing suitable storage for potatoes and the food value of other crops, that this is the maximum area that should be given to potatoes.