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Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 8 March 1977

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farmers have been subject to financial penalty in the last 12 months for exceeding their quota of potato production.

All potato producers growing more than 4/10th of a hectare are legally required to register with the Potato Marketing Board. Producers pay the board a levy calculated on the area planted within their quota and an additional levy on area planted in excess of quota. These measures are designed to achieve a reasonable balance between supply and demand, and to avoid heavy surpluses which can hazard the stability of production and involve significant Exchequer cost, and thereby cost to the taxpayer, under the guarantee arrangements. I understand from the board that 3,950 registered producers paid excess area contributions in respect of 5,419 hectares in 1976, and that, for 1975–76, nine growers were fined by the board for making false statements of area planted.