asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the success attained in Russia in cutting off the small tips of potatoes with the seed bud in order to provide potato seed for the forthcoming season, while using the greater part of the potato for food; that plants grown from potato tips have been found to be less subject to disease than those grown from the whole potato; and whether steps will be taken in order to increase our food supply to advise farmers to adopt this practice in Great Britain?
I have had some particulars of Russian work on this subject, and I am arranging for it to, be examined further. The cutting of tubers to save "seed" is already practised to some extent in this country, but my information is that heavier and better crops are produced from high class certified "seed" than from "sets" of ordinary ware tubers.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that it has been officially stated that it is expected that 2,500,000 acres will be planted with these tips in Russia next year whereby 8,000,000 or 9,000,000 tons of potatoes will be warehoused, and in view of the appeals made in the Press about the necessity for more potatoes is it not desirable that we should press forward with this experiment which, apparently, has already been proved?
I have no information about the particular figures quoted by my hon. Friend, but so far as this country is concerned we are producing approximately the same tonnage from half the acreage and, therefore, I do not think it would be much use adopting that method.