asked the Minister of Food what steps are necessary for an ex-Service man to enter the potato merchant trade and for a potato merchant to become a Ministry agent; how many applications for merchants' and agents' licences, respectively, he has received since 1945; how many of each he has granted; and what is the usual ground for rejection.
With permission I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the answer, which is necessarily rather long.
Following is the answer:
No one requires a licence to sell potatoes by wholesale but only to buy direct from the grower; and to get such a licence an ex-Service man or any other person must satisfy my Department that he has established a substantial wholesale trade, or has an extensive knowledge of that trade. If he is a disabled ex-Service man he may be granted a licence if one is necessary for his rehabilitation. Any licensed potato merchant may be appointed a Ministry agent if he is nominated by a grower, has traded for at least a year in the area concerned and has the necessary equipment and organisation for handling Ministry business.
Since 1st January, 1946, 997 applications for merchants' licences have been received and 241 granted, the most common ground for rejection being lack of experience of wholesale trading. In the same period, 302 merchants have applied for agencies and 198 have been approved, the usual ground for rejection being lack of suitable facilities.