Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received about the present state of the ware and seed potato industry; what is the present state of the potato industry; how exceptional relevant weather conditions have been during the year; and if he will make a statement about proposals to support the potato industry in Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Hanley
Representations have been received from two public representatives. Potato prices in Northern Ireland and throughout the European Community have been depressed as a result of increases in the area planted and yield of potatoes. While rainfall in the three months September to November has been below average there were no sustained dry spells. This resulted in difficult harvesting conditions. There are no plans to provide financial support for the potato industry in Northern Ireland.