§ 9. Sir Raymond Gower
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what recent representations he has received concerning the state of the pig industry in Wales; and what measures he plans to deal with them.
§ Mr. Nicholas Edwards
I have received representations from both farming unions in Wales and many producers about the state of the pig sector. Support arrangements for the industry are currently being considered as part of the 1984–85 common agricultural policy price negotiations.
§ Sir Raymond Gower
Does my right hon. Friend anticipate any improvement in this sector in the months ahead?
§ Mr. Edwards
It is always rash to forecast trends of that kind. As my hon. Friend knows, at the level of the European Community we have pressed for the early introduction of aids for private storage when the pigmeat market has shown signs of weakening, and we have secured the reintroduction of such aids. We have also pressed for export refunds to be maintained at appropriate levels. We are encouraging and helping the trade to open new markets. All those measures will help the industry.
§ Mr. Rogers
Will the Secretary of State say how many pig farmers, or, for that matter, other farmers, are unemployed in Wales?
§ Mr. Edwards
That is not the way in which the system works. People either withdraw from agriculture during a period of change, as many have done during the past 20 or 30 years, or they switch to other forms of agriculture in which they can make a profit. We have an efficient industry which, consistently over a long period has reduced the number of people employed and increased productivity.