33. Mr. T. Williams
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the number of farmers under supervision for the latest date for which figures are available, and the figures on a comparable date in 1952.
On 31st May, 1955, 432 farmers were under supervision for failing to comply with the rules of good husbandry. The comparable figure for 1952 is 1,518.
Does not the very large diminution imply that county executive committees are not carrying out Part II of the Act in the way that we hoped they would?
I do not think that the number of cases under supervision is really a fair criterion of the effectiveness of the administration of Part II of the Agriculture Act. I think, perhaps, that in some cases the reduced numbers may be a welcome indication of the improvement in efficiency which has taken place.
While we all hope that the inference in the right hon. Gentleman's reply is the correct one, is it not possible that the large diminution is due to loss of confidence among county executive committees, as well as among individual farmers?
I am very much encouraged by the amount of evidence there is as to the improvements that are now the result of persuasion and technical advice without going to the length of supervision.