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Pig Production (Increase)

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 19 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Agriculture if he has considered the detailed proposals put to him by the National Farmers' Union for the immediate expansion of pig production so as to provide an extra three ounces of pork for the weekly meat ration by 1950–51; and what action the Government are taking to put such a programme into effect.


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is now in a position to arrange for increased supplies of imported feedingstuffs, including maize, to be available for livestock production and in particular to enable an increased programme of production of pork and bacon in this country.

In present circumstances it would be quite impracticable to obtain a supply of imported feeding-stuffs on the scale suggested by the National Farmers' Union; but, recognising that pigs afford the quickest means of increasing the home output of meat, and after reviewing the supply prospects for feedingstuffs for the next 12 months, the Government have decided to increase by about 50 per cent. the amount of rationed feedingstuffs to be distributed and used for commercial pig production. This is designed to stimulate the breeding and fattening of pigs for both the bacon and pork markets. The main increase will be to treble the present rate of bonus ration in respect of pigmeat sold in the previous four months. Details of this and other adjustments in rations will be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Whilst the House and producers in the country will be very grateful to the Government for at last being convinced of the necessity to increase the feedingstuffs' ration, does the right hon. Gentleman realise that a 50 per cent. increase will in no way make up for the extra three ounces of pork, for which I asked in my Question? Will he inform the House exactly what the 50 per cent. means in terms of coarse grains? Would it be correct to say that it is in the neighbourhood of 500,000 tons?

The hon. Member is correct, the estimated increase of rations for pigs is approximately half a million tons and we estimate that if it is all used up and supplemented by home-grown supplies, it may give an extra 80,000 to 100,000 tons of pigmeat.

In view of that statement, will the right hon. Gentleman release the feedingstuffs at present in store in the country for the use of pig producers who contract to sell pigs to the Ministry of Food so that they can get on with the job?

It is our intention, of course, to draw on existing reserves for the purpose of this further distribution.

In view of his very satisfactory reply, may I ask my right hon. Friend if he will accept the thanks of the housewives of this country for the big increase in bacon and pork supplies which will result from these increased feedingstuffs?

Can the Minister say on what date these increased rations will become available to pig producers and whether they will apply to farrowing sows?

Yes. For the benefit of hon. Members who may be interested in a more detailed description of the new allocations, copies are available in the Vote Office at this moment.

Will my right hon. Friend still further encourage pig clubs and give a guarantee that an equivalent amount of feedingstuffs will be given to pig clubs?

I am afraid that with the supplies available, I could not undertake that at the moment.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the adjustments he has mentioned will include permission for entry into the pig producing industry of new producers?

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that these additional rations will be able to be maintained, so that farmers who make use of them for the increase of pig production, will not have to sacrifice their breeding stock in the event of the additional ration having to be cut?

If the hon. Member expects me to become a prophet and determine how much feedingstuffs we can buy 12 months hence, I had better not enter that realm. I ought to correct my last supplementary answer. When I said new entrants, I meant those new entrants under the scheme started last year.

Does this increase apply to Scotland? If not, what arrangements are being made in regard to increased pig production there?

I cannot imagine any hon. Member thinking for one moment that Scotland could be left out.

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the second of my two questions? What arrangements do the Government propose to make in regard to increased pig production in Scotland?

Will the Minister remind the Minister of Food that if the 18 million dollars spent on buying pig meat now in America had been spent on pig food last year, there would not be the present pig shortage.

Is the Minister confident that these young pigs will be available for the next General Election?

Are we to understand from the Minister's further reply to my question that no new entrants into the pig industry are now to be permitted?

Only those who are capable of producing 50 per cent. of the food required for their animals.

Following are the details:

  • (1) The present rate of bonus ration will be trebled, commencing with the issue to be made in the period starting 1st September, 1949, in respect of pigmeat sold to the Ministry of Food in the previous four months.
  • (2) An increase in the farrowing sow allowance from 8 cwt. to 9 cwt.; to operate from 1st July, 1949.
  • (3) An increase of about one-eighth in basic issues for pigs, subject to the full number of pig; for which rations are issued being kept. Holders of combined registrations for pigs and poultry will benefit on the understanding that increased numbers of pigs are kept.
  • (4) Under the extended scheme, an increase in specified numbers of pigs, related to the size of the holding, of approximately 50 per cent. with a modification of the present limitation on the issue of rations for sows.
  • Except for farrowing sows, these increases in rations will take effect from 1st September, 1949, and those who wish to transfer from the basic to the extended scheme will be able to do so before that date.

    Details of these amendments will be worked out and issued before 1st July.

    The above changes apply to Great Britain. A separate announcement will be made regarding arrangements in Northern Ireland.