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Volume 928: debated on Wednesday 23 March 1977

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what figures he has to show the likely imports of early or new season potatoes into the United Kingdom; and what estimate he has of the likely effects of these imports on existing stocks of Scottish ware potatoes.

The United Kingdom traditionally imports new potatoes in the spring and early summer. In the first half of 1976 about a quarter of a million tonnes were imported. I would expect the same or slightly greater supplies this year. These imports will help to ease the supply position and meet consumer demand for new potatoes in the period before our own new crop is available in quantity. I do not expect the imports to have any direct effect on existing stocks of Scottish ware potatoes.