This is quite a simple Bill. Part II provides for the registration of premises and for the licensing of exporters. It provides that all potatoes exported from this country shall be exported from registered premises; that they may be exported either from premises which have been registered in the name of the exporter or from premises registered in the name of the farmer. It also provides that railway stations may be licensed for the purpose of examining potatoes. The fees to be charged are also set out in this part of the Bill. They average about a shilling a ton. Two classes of potatoes are dealt with, ware and seed potatoes. Ware potatoes are all potatoes that are not seed potatoes Part III of the Bill gives power to the Minister to make regulations for grading and packing. The important section in Part IV provides for the inspection of seed potatoes while they are growing. We contemplate inspecting all seed potatoes intended for sale abroad while they are actually growing to see that the growing crop is pure. That will have advantages afterwards when we are giving a certificate for the export of the crop.
At the moment we grow about 350,000 acres of potatoes. We export considerable quantities of ware potatoes and seed potatoes. At present we import very small quantities. Our exports of seed potatoes are considerably greater than our imports. We export about 20,000 tons of seed potatoes. There has been such a complete change in the market in the last five years that we now import very little seed potatoes. There is a big market in England for seed potatoes. The Scotch farmers send hundreds of thousands of tons of seed potatoes there every year. There is no reason why we should not have a share of that market. Potatoes are grown successfully in every county in this State, and we hope, as a result of this Bill, to be able to get a larger share than we have at present of the English market. So far as the home market is concerned, we have, of course, the whole of that. The imports are negligible. Consequently, if we are to expand at all it must be by getting a hold of a considerable share of the big imports of potatoes into England.