Potato Producers

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th March 1989.

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Photo of David Tredinnick David Tredinnick , Bosworth 12:00 am, 16th March 1989

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met representatives of potato producers and distributors; what was discussed; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Richard Ryder Mr Richard Ryder , Mid Norfolk

My right hon. Friend met the National Farmers Union and the Scottish National Farmers Union on 1 March 1989 and the Potato Marketing Board and the Potato Processors Association on 8 March 1989, to discuss their responses to the Government's consultation paper on future potato market policy. All responses are now being considered and a decision will not be delayed unduly.

Photo of David Tredinnick David Tredinnick , Bosworth

Will my hon. Friend assure consumers that whatever his decision on the Potato Marketing Board, there will continue to be a plentiful supply of first-class potatoes at a price everyone can afford?

Photo of Mr Richard Ryder Mr Richard Ryder , Mid Norfolk

I am happy to give my hon. Friend that firm, unyielding commitment.

Photo of Mr Colin Shepherd Mr Colin Shepherd , Hereford

Is my hon. Friend aware that in the west midlands, in my part of the world, both the large-scale professional potato growers and the small-scale growers are of like mind that the third option of his consultative paper would be the right way to go in that it would remove the public money dimension? Would it not be advisable to give the industry the solution that it would prefer?

Photo of Mr Richard Ryder Mr Richard Ryder , Mid Norfolk

My hon. Friend is tempting me to comment on each of the three options before a decision is taken. Alas, I cannot do that, but I assure him that a decision will be taken soon and that the views of hon. Members will be taken into account.