50. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will confer with the Minister of Supply and the Minister of Food with a view to ensuring an increased production of concentrates derived from kitchen waste being available for pig and poultry keepers throughout the country early in April, 1941, in view of the further reduction in feeding-stuffs ration which has taken place?
I would deprecate on the one hand exaggeration of the amount of waste available and on the other lack of 1421 appreciation of what is already being done. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply gave yesterday figures showing the large proportion of available waste already being collected by local authorities. In addition, farmers, and contractors on be-half of farmers, are collecting material quantities privately. Moreover, we have organised no fewer than 750,000 backyarders with nearly 15,000,000 hens who must collect in the shape of waste two-thirds of the food consumed by the poultry. In addition, the number of pig clubs is steadily increasing. They depend almost wholly on local voluntary collection of waste food. Finally, as my hon. Friend stated yesterday, further steps are being taken to provide more local authorities with concentrator plants.
Mr. Dc la Bère
Will my right hon. Friend give full and concentrated thought to this matter? Is he not aware that his puny, piffling and unfinished thought must cease, and will he talk to Colin D. Campbell, the wheat expert, with a view to seeing whether we cannot get more foodstuffs over and above these waste foods? The poultry and pig position is really a matter of life and death, and he is not tackling the matter seriously at all.
I cannot accept for one moment that there is any lack of drive. We are in fact collecting the greater part of the waste food available in this country to-day, and what is left is merely a small part. As far as foot-and-mouth disease is concerned, it is perfectly true that boiling swill is a safeguard against the spread of the disease, but most, if not all, of the outbreaks caused by swill are due to the distribution of raw swill from the towns to the farms, and the infections have undoubtedly arisen before the swill could be boiled on the farms.
Mr. De la Bère
Is my right hon. Friend aware that I am acutely dissatisfied with the Ministry of Agriculture?