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Plant Disease (Fertilisers)

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 12 May 1949

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50.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will appoint a committee to inquire into the causes of increase in plant disease, the possible connection with greater use of artificial fertilisers, and the comparative results achieved by the Indore and similar methods depending on the biological basis of soil fertility.

No, Sir. I am advised that there is no evidence that the increasing use of so-called artificial manures has had the effect that is suggested. I would add that scientific opinion is unanimous that the so-called artificial fertilisers should be supplemented by the addition to the soil of organic materials such as dung and compost or by the ploughing in of grass and clover swards.

While agreeing with the observations of my right hon. Friend on this Question, I would like to ask whether he is not aware that there is a good deal of conflicting evidence on the subject. Does he not therefore think that some inquiry on this subject would serve a useful purpose?

Is not the word "evidence" a misnomer? Should not the hon. Member say "conflicting statements"? There is no conflicting evidence.

I was going to say to my hon. Friend that there is no conflict- ing evidence. In fact, this is a continuous investigation that goes on day by day and month by month.