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Volume 462: debated on Monday 7 March 1949

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asked the Minister of Food how the monthly consumption of potatoes for human consumption and for stock-feed, respectively, in 1947–48 compared with that of 1946–47 month by month; and what are the corresponding figures to date this year.

As the reply is a table of figures, I will, with the hon. and gallant Member's permission, circulate the information in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Will the right hon. Lady say whether the 1947–48 ration has resulted in a reduced consumption this year and, if so, whether the estimate, which is for a surplus of five million tons, is correct?

Does the hon. and gallant Member mean consumption by humans or by animals?

The overall consumption. Is the right hon. Lady aware that the overall consumption will obviously be affected if the human consumption is cut down?

As I have already explained to the House last year's crop was so great that human consumption, while it has been heavy, has not been sufficient to take up the surplus this crop year. Animal consumption is much higher.

And the surplus of five million tons which is estimated is in fact correct?

Following is the information:

Thousand tons
CalendarMonthSales for human consumption in Great Britain Sales for stockfeeding (raw and processed) in Great Britain
1946–471947–48From 1.7.48 to 31.1.491946–471947–48From 1.7.48 to 31.1.49

* Provisional figures.


asked the Minister of Food how many factories are now processing potatoes; what is the total weekly output; how many tons of potatoes have so far been processed; how many additional factories will be in operation before this season's crop has been processed; how many weeks processing will be necessary in all; and what is the total tonnage likely to be processed.

There are 26 processing factories in the United Kingdom which are converting each week approximately 17,000 tons of raw potatoes into 3,500 tons of dried potatoes. Up to 19th February this year 94,000 tons of raw potatoes had been processed into 15,566 tons of dried potato. Two further small drying plants may become available to deal with this season's crop. Processing will continue so long as there are potatoes to be disposed of. I cannot say therefore for how many weeks the factories will be needed. The present estimate is that the total quantity likely to be processed will be about 300,000 tons.

Would the right hon. Lady say whether these factories are now working seven days a week or only five?

Perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman would put that Question on the Order Paper.