23 MARCH 1918, Page 2

The Prime Minister has made an urgent and excellent appeal

for the cultivation of more potatoes. He says that there is no crop to compare with the potato in importance under war conditions, and that it would be quite impossible to plant too many potatoes this spring. The potato-grower, he says, "is in the front line of the fight against the submarine." That is well and truthfully said. Probably the appeal to the large grower who can make his crops pay will not be in vain, and the same thing may be said of the allotment-holder. But we are more doubtful about the grower who comes in between. As Sir Mark Collet pointed out in a letter to the Times on Tuesday, the general farmer, who is not a specialist working on selected land, is dissatisfied with the price fixed by the Food Controller. Many general farmers made a loss last year, and will not want to burn their fingers again. It should also be remem- bered that Nature was in a very generous mood last year, and the crop was a bumper one. We can scarcely look for such geniality in Nature for two years in succession. If the general farmer thinks the fixed price will not pay him, he will not grow the potatoes. That is natural enough, and the man can hardly be blamed. We hope the Government will look into this matter most carefully and at once. It is possible that the potato, and the potato alone, will stand between the nation and want. We cannot afford to have any fresh mistakes.