asked the Minister of Agriculture if any estimate has been made of the total quantity of fish, fruit, and vegetables which was wasted during the year 1928 owing to insufficient local demand and prohibitive cost of transport to areas where there was a demand; will he state what advance was made in the establishment of more canning factories; and what steps does he propose taking to encourage the development of the canning industry in order to obviate the waste of perishable foods?
It is impossible to make any reliable estimate of the annual wastage of perishable produce. In the last three years nine new fruit and vegetable factories have been established. During the past year steps have been taken by my Department, in collaboration with the National Food Canning Council, to extend the fish canning industry. Other projects are under consideration. I am hopeful that the prominence given to canned foods of various kinds in the Great Britain section of the displays of Empire produce organised from time to time at trade and other exhibitions will encourage the development of the canning industry by helping to popularise its products.
I am not sure whether sonic of them deal with fish, but we are examining the possibility of giving a more regular supply of bristlings, or young sprats, which we are told are required, if these factories are to start on a satisfactory basis.
With perishable produce it is inevitable, in seasons of glut, that there should be waste, and we are doing all that we can to improve market- ing arrangements so as to prevent these gluts and see that means are taken to improve access to markets.
Has consideration been given to the provision of fish meal concentrators at some of these ports where a glut occurs from time to time, and turn this unsaleable surplus into fish meal to be used as cattle food?