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Annual Review

Volume 960: debated on Friday 15 December 1978

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the outcome of the 1979 annual review of agriculture.

The White Paper which is presented to Parliament today shows a continued improvement in agricultural production in 1978 and confirms that the farming industry has substantially increased its contribution to the nation's wealth. Net product reached a record level some 5½ per cent. above the level in 1977. The main elements in this were the record cereals harvest, and the high output of milk and some field and horticultural crops. Labour productivity has risen again to a new record level, while the volume of new fixed investment increased by some 2½ per cent. There was a fall of 3½ per cent. in the industry's aggregate net income, excluding stock appreciation, which to some extent reflects increases in the prices of agricultural inputs. This global figure covers considerable variations between different parts of the country and between different sectors of farming, including a substantial reduction in returns on potatoes from the exceptional levels of earlier years.