asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will be announcing the guaranteed price for potatoes for the 1977–78 season; and whether he is satisfied that in the absence of an announcement an acreage will be planted which will ensure adequate supplies over the next year, at lower prices to the housewife than in the previous two seasons.
My right hon. Friend is still considering the guaranteed price for potatoes of the 1977 crop and will make an announcement as soon as possible. Various factors influence planting intentions, but we have no reason to expect that, given normal weather, the area planted will be insufficient to meet our needs. This season's high prices resulted from the effect of last summer's drought on the yield, and in normal weather conditions the area planted would have provided ample supplies.