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Volume 236: debated on Monday 10 March 1930

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asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will consider a temporary restriction or prohibition of the importation of Spanish and other varieties of new potatoes so as to alleviate the present position of potato growers and permit of the sale of homegrown potatoes; and what steps does he propose to take to help the potato growers, who are faced with heavy losses and/or bankruptcy?

Action as suggested in the first part of the question is precluded by the International Convention for the Abolition of Prohibitions and Restrictions on Imports and Exports. In reply to the second part of the question, the difficulties which are confronting potato growers are due largely to the abundance of the home crop and the remedy lies in improved marketing methods and machinery. I shall be most happy to provide any advice or assistance in my power to growers and merchants in the task of improving the position by organising for the purpose of (1) securing the general adoption of the statutory grades which have recently been published after repeated demonstration by my Department, and (2) making arrangements for disposal of below-grade and surplus potatoes. I am in touch with the National Farmers' Union on the matter, and they are also giving the subject their close attention.