§ 11. Mr. Peyton
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the percentage during each of the last four years of bacon consumed in this country which came from home-produced pigs.
§ Mr. John Hare
The estimated percentages for the calendar years 1954 to 1957 are respectively 43, 43, 39 and 39.
§ Mr. Peyton
Would not my right hon. Friend agree that it is very important to assure to home producers some proportion of the bacon market? Would not it be most unfortunate if pig producers were forced increasingly into the pork market, thereby giving a considerable benefit to our overseas competitors? Will he recognise that there is some point at which he must fix a minimum for the home industry?
§ Mr. Lipton
Does the right hon. Gentleman think that 39 per cent. is a fair proportion of the home market for the home producer?
§ Mr. Hare
The housewife is very much the dictator in this matter, and I am quite certain that the British bacon industry can produce, in its highest quality bacon, the best bacon in the world. I am also certain that it will make every effort to increase the quality of the rest of the product of the industry.
§ 23. Mr. Peyton
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what evidence he has in relation to the present success, or otherwise, of specialist bacon pig producers in concentrating on continued improvement in type and quality; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. John Hare
Since decontrol, Government policy has been directed by means of grading services and quality premiums towards improving the quality of bacon pig production and the evidence is that this policy has been, and is continuing to be, successful. In March, 1956, 32 per cent. of the pigs certified at bacon factories graded "A" at all measurement points, whereas at the end of 1957 the comparable figure was 45 per cent.
I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the changes made in the grading arrangements during the last two years and the progress made in improving quality.
§ Mr. Peyton
I appreciate the very difficult problem which my right hon. Friend is facing, but does he not agree that the ultimate success or failure of his efforts and the efforts of the industry to improve quality will depend upon confidence, and that there cannot be sufficient confidence without an assurance of a reasonable share in the home market?
§ Following is the table:
|PIGS GRADED FOR QUALITY PREMIUM AT BACON FACTORIES IN UNITED KINGDOM|
|Week commencing (1)||Number of pigs certified at bacon factories (2)||Pigs qualifying for quality premium as percentage of column (2) (3)||Pigs which would have qualified for quality premium if no change had been made in criteria at March, 1957: as a percentage of column (2) (4)|
|26th March (a)||…||…||87.1||32.2|
|25th March (b)||…||…||89.0||30.7||37.0|
|7th October (c)||…||…||102.6||35.8||41.7|
|(a) Quality premiums payable on carcases graded "A" at loin, shoulder and mid-back within weight range 7 score to 8 score 15 lb.|
|(b) Quality premiums payable on carcases graded "A" at loin, shoulder and mid-back, having a minimum carcase length of 775 mm. and within weight range 7 score to 8 score 15 lb.|
|(c) Quality premiums payable on carcases graded "A" at loin and shoulder, having a minimum carcase length of 775 mm. and within weight range 7 score to 8 score 5 lb.|