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Advisory Service

Volume 437: debated on Monday 12 May 1947

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49.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will make a statement about the progress which is being made with the development of the Agricultural Advisory Service; and to what extent it will be in effective operation during 1947.

The National Agricultural Advisory Service was set up seven months ago and is now in effective operation though not yet at full strength. The eight provincial centres are in being, and the county staffs have been integrated with the county war agricultural executive committee organisation. In association with the provincial directors of the service the committees are playing an invaluable part in guiding the work of the county staffs and stimulating the interest of farmers and growers in the facilities the Service can provide. The work of the Service is under the general direction of a small staff of senior officers at Headquarters, who are closely associated with my Agricultural Improvement Council and through that body with the Agricultural Research Council. Owing to the severe and general shortage of suitably qualified men and women, the Service is at present one-third below strength; while building difficulties and shortages of scientific and other material are proving obstacles above all to the full equipment of the provincial centres and sub-centres. Everything possible is being done to resolve these difficulties and to bring the Service up to full strength and efficiency at the earliest practicable date.