HC Deb 18 July 1938 vol 338 cc1793-4
38. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the Government, to ensure a better and more regular control of imports, will lay down a definite maximum output in order to determine what percentage of wheat, sugar, dairy produce, poultry, livestock, pigs, fruit, etc., can be produced in this country, and to safeguard and secure the necessary market for them; and further, whether they will have worked out a proper formula to co-relate this production to the productions of our overseas suppliers?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

No, Sir. It would not be practicable to lay down a definite maximum output for particular agricultural products. The volume of production must necessarily depend, partly on the vagaries of our climate, and partly on the decisions of individual farmers as to the type and extent of production which, in the light of prevailing economic trends, appears best suited to the soil and other conditions of their farms. I regret that I have no control over the former, while as regards the latter I do not believe that it would be the wish of this House that I should attempt to define for farmers either the nature or the volume of the crops or animal products that they should produce.

Mr. De la Bère

Is it not a fact that the home producer is entitled to first place in the home market, provided that the quality of his produce is right, and is he not entitled to a fair margin of profit for all that he can produce?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir, I think the answer to both my hon. Friend's questions is in the affirmative.

Major Braithwaite

Will the Minister consider the question of receiving from the farmers of the country such a programme as is outlined in this question and giving it his consideration?

Mr. Morrison

I will gladly consider any programme that is presented to me.