§ Mr. Corbett
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the help and advice available to farmers from his Agricultural Development and Advisory Service.
§ Mr. Peart:
A main ADAS objective is to encourage farmers and growers to go on improving the productivity of their businesses and to help them do so. This is especially important at a time when we need to make the best use of all our resources. I have, therefore, been looking at how the service goes about its development and advisory work, and have today placed in the Library of the House a paper setting out my conclusions.
The paper re-emphasises the importance of the work and the value to farmers and growers of the advice offered by ADAS on technical and business management matters. I hope that those who can benefit from this advice will take full advantage of it, in their interests and the nation's. The many changes affecting our agricultural and horticultural industries in recent years, the problems and opportunities they are now facing and the importance of their contributions to our food supplies and to the national economy, all underline the need for farmers and growers to produce efficiently more of the food we can grow at home, and for effective development and advice to help them do it.
In order to make the best use of its available manpower and other resources in this field ADAS will be continually reviewing and updating its knowledge, its methods and its priorities. Of fundamental importance are research and development, an intimate knowledge of the farming situation in which advice is being given, and advisors who are trained and equipped to be able to offer, with confidence, understanding and knowledge, advice that is relevant, practical, informed and forward-looking. While the Agricultural Research Council is responsible for most Government-financed agricultural research, ADAS has for long played a major rôle in development work and 104W this will be increasing. In continuing to give impartial advice to all farmers and growers who seek it, advisers will use their discretion in determining whether individual, group or mass methods of communication are appropriate to the particular situation.
The Government attach the greatest importance to the rôle to be played by ADAS in helping farmers and growers with the task that lies ahead of them. I am confident that this reappraisal of the development and advisory work of ADAS will enable the service to play its role to the full.