HC Deb 16 February 1939 vol 343 c1933W
Mr. Price

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware, that at the present time, bacon pigs are being procured for curers on the open market at figures above the long contract prices of the pig scheme; and whether he proposes to take steps to see that the intention of the Bacon Industry Act is carried out?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I have no precise information that infringements of the Bacon Industry Act of the character suggested are taking place, but if any such infringements occur it is the duty of the Bacon Development Board and of the Marketing Boards acting under its directions, to take steps to stop them.

Major Carver

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the report of the Bacon Marketing Board in which it is stated that only 1,479,226 pigs were contracted for delivery by producers last year, and that the production of home bacon showed a slight reduction as against that of the previous year whilst imports of bacon increased substantially; and what action it is proposed to take in these circumstances to ensure a rapid development of home bacon production?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I have received a copy of the report referred to. There has been a comparative shortage of pigs this winter and therefore pig producers were not in a position to contract to supply, and cannot now supply, as many pigs for bacon curing as in preceding years when pigs were more plentiful. There was some increase in 1938 in the production in this country of bacon from imported pigs and carcases, but imports of bacon and hams were less in that year than in the previous year. As to the last part of the question, the Bacon Industry Act, as my hon. and gallant Friend will be aware, provides assistance to the industry for a period of three years to enable reorganisation to be effected. The maximum numbers of pigs which may be sold on long contracts to bacon curers during these three years are considerably more than the number offered by pig producers this year, and the question of increasing the supply of pigs for bacon curing is therefore a matter for the industry itself.