HC Deb 15 December 1960 vol 632 cc589-90
33. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will introduce legislation to establish a marketing board for cereals.

Mr. Soames

Permissive legislation is already in being. Under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1958, the initiative for seeking to establish such a board rests with the producers.

Mr. de Freitas

If the producers—that is to say, the farmers—and the consumers and the Treasury are all agreed about the advantages of this and if they come forward with a scheme, will the Minister set up a board, even if the millers do not like it?

Mr. Soames

It is not a question of what somebody likes or does not like. There are well, known, processes and machinery for setting up a board, and that machinery must be operated. If such formal proposals were made, I should give them earnest consideration.

Mr. Prior

Is my right hon. Friend aware that we shall be very nearly self-supporting in barley next year? Will he do his best to advertise that fact so that no merchant buys foreign barley this year for delivery next year?

Mr. Soames

In view of the weather we had this autumn it is clear that, with the small amount of winter wheat able to be drilled, there will be a greater barley production, if there is a normal season next year, than there has been this year.