47. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the decrease in the poultry and pig populations of this country since the commencement of the war and the importance of maintaining and increasing these to provide additional food, he can now make a statement on the Government's intentions in these matters.
The Government's intention in these matters were clearly stated in the announcement which I made in this House on 5th December last, namely, to encourage an expansion of production of pig-meat, poultry and eggs to the fullest extent permitted by the supplies of feeding stuffs which can be made available.
Mr. De la Bère
Does my right hon. Friend appreciate the world food position and that those remarks, while they may be true, will need to he carefully investigated and every endeavour made to get more additional feeding-stuffs in view of the shortage, which is very serious?
§ Sir William Wayland
May I thank the Minister of Agriculture for the extra rations which he has given to poultry keepers during the last six months?
50. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the shortage of meat and the possibility of a cut in the meat ration, he will encourage the pig breeders to market pigs at smaller weights for pork and pork products; and whether he will give special consideration to the difficulties of the pig producers in getting pigs to the larger weights, in view of the shortage of feeding-stuffs.
The numbers of pigs marketed at the lighter weights suitable for pork have already increased during recent months without any specific encouragement; but it does not follow that this will lead to a greater output of homegrown pig meat, owing to the relatively higher requirement of concentrated feeding-stuffs of the small pig. An expansion of pork production in these circumstances might well take place at the expense of bacon production.
Mr. De la Bère
But does my right hon. Friend appreciate the difficulty of getting the small pig to the correct weight in view of the feeding shortage and the necessity of putting down more land for feeding-stuffs?
§ Mr. Snadden
Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that owing to the world shortage of meat which we are facing, the time has perhaps come when the Government should review their price scales which give such overwhelming emphasis to milk, in order to expand the whole production of meat in this country?
Yes, Sir, but not only is there a world shortage of meat; there is also a world shortage of available feeding-stuffs.