Agriculture Industry

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7 March 1983.

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Photo of Mr Geraint Howells Mr Geraint Howells , Cardigan 12:00, 7 March 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is satisfied with the present state of the agriculture industry in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Nicholas Edwards Mr Nicholas Edwards , Pembroke

The recently published White Paper on agriculture shows that Welsh farmers shared in the substantial recovery in farm incomes in 1981–82 following two difficult years. This recovery is expected to continue in the current year.

Photo of Mr Geraint Howells Mr Geraint Howells , Cardigan

I am sure that the Secretary of State will agree that the deficiency payments scheme has worked well for many years for beef and lamb producers in Wales. Why will the Government not introduce a deficiency payments scheme to help pig producers in Wales, who are in dire trouble?

Photo of Mr Nicholas Edwards Mr Nicholas Edwards , Pembroke

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the problems of the pig industry have been apparent for a considerable time and have been recently discussed between the unions and the Government. I do not think that there will be widespread support for his proposal that deficiency payments should be introduced for the pig industry. It is clear that the Government's general measures for agriculture have been extremely successful in maintaining the position of agriculture, not least in Wales.

Photo of Mr Alec Jones Mr Alec Jones , Rhondda

When are farmers in Wales likely to see some tangible benefits from the proposal to extend the less-favoured areas directive to that part of Wales now described as marginal land?

Photo of Mr Nicholas Edwards Mr Nicholas Edwards , Pembroke

I should like to be able to give the right hon. Gentleman an answer, but the Commission is now asking a great many detailed questions about our application, which is its right. We are dealing with the questions, but I cannot say how long it will take to satisfy the Commission as to the eligibility of the land in question.