My Department, in collaboration with representatives of the seed potato growers and merchants, is working on a programme designed to tighten up and improve the standards of the Scottish Seed Potato Certification Scheme. Arrangements for stepping up check inspections of seed potatoes on farms under the Seed Potato Inspection Order are under consideration, and a review of inspection standards for export purposes is to be undertaken.
Would the right hon. Gentleman consider running a pilot scheme financed by growers to extend the checking of potatoes to those which are not stock seed? Would he further consider extending the publicity about research into damage to potatoes so that farmers are made more aware of how they can help in this matter?
I dealt with research when we discussed the matter in the Scottish Grand Committee. What the hon. Gentleman suggests is being done. I think that we should wait to see how the present arrangements improve the position before we go further into the kind of pilot scheme which, I know, the hon. Gentleman would like to see.