asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the quantity of foreign onions recently allowed into the country; and the percentage for a year which is now supplied from home sources.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Onion Supplies.
With the ending of supplies from the 1968 home onion crop, licences were recently issued for the import of 2,000 tons of onions estimated to meet requirements until adequate supplies from the 1969 home crop would become available. The 1968 home onion crop has met about two-thirds of the year's commercial requirements.
Would the Minister indicate what steps he is now taking to see that supplies of Irish onions will lasts for the whole year rather than having to import 2,000 tons? I mean this in respect of the whole calender year next year.
If supplies are not adequate they cannot last. The Deputy would not expect me to stretch them out over a period beyond that which they are capable of covering? Surely we would need more?
I am asking the Minister what he is doing to get growers to produce a supply that will be adequate for the whole year.
What we are doing and have been doing for a considerable time past and with a great deal of success is trying to regulate the market here so as to make it profitable and attractive for onion growers to expand their production. We intend to continue doing this to the benefit of our own growers.
In other words the Minister is not offering any incentive for increased onion production?
The real incentive is the market being provided and the knowledge that the crop will not be left on their hands.
The Minister is not offering grants for storage of onions under controlled temperature conditions?
It is not a question of what I am offering. I am really securing a market for our own onions. I think everybody will agree that where we can do this it is the best way of encouraging the growing of any crop.
Surely the Minister would agree that if we are encouraging increased agricultural production in other fields it is only proper that we should by grant increase the production of onions so as to cover the whole year by providing grants for storage in aerated conditions?
There is no suggestion that storage is, in fact, holding up production at the moment.