asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that considerable quantities of seed of the dangerous weed Brassica Juncea, which had never previously been found in Great Britain, were contained in bags of seed of Canadian Royal Linseed imported by his Department and supplied to farmers in sealed bags for growing at the request of agricultural executive committees; and what steps he is taking to compensate farmers for losses caused by the presence of the weed, and to prevent the spread of the weed in this country.
I am aware that small quantities of the seed of this weed have been found in imported linseed. Consignments in which this impurity has actually been found have not been sold for seed, but samples may not always disclose all the impurities present. The provisions of the Seeds Act have been complied with by the Seeds Import Board and no question of compensation of farmers arises. Farmers will be advised to use an appropriate hormone weed-killer to destroy this plant.
If I tell the right hon. Gentleman of a farm where several acres of linseed have been smothered by this weed so that the crop is a total loss, will he send somebody from his Department to examine it and report?