Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Export of Agricultural Produce.

asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he has taken, or is to take, any steps to encourage the export of Saorstát agricultural produce, and, if so, if he will indicate what has been or is to be done in that direction.

Consistently with due recognition of the principle that the home market is the best market, it is, of course, the settled policy of the Government to maintain the balance of trade by encouraging the export of all agricultural produce of which there is an exportable surplus. To this end, as the Deputy is doubtless aware, a very great deal has already been done by the Department of Agriculture and the committees of agriculture to improve the quality of our live stock and the produce of our dairies and poultry farms, so as to keep pace with our competitors in the markets of Great Britain. The health and safe transit of our cattle continue to be provided for by the Department of Agriculture under previous legislation, and the Department have also accomplished much under the several Acts of the Oireachtas passed within the past decade to ensure that our fresh meat, butter, cream, eggs and potatoes are placed on the British markets in such a way as to secure the greatest possible return, while promoting an increased demand. Amongst the measures I refer to may be mentioned particularly the Agricultural Produce (Eggs) Acts, 1924 and 1930; Dairy Produce Acts, 1924 and 1931; Live Stock Breeding Act, 1925; Agricultural Produce (Fresh Meat) Acts, 1930 and 1931, and the Agricultural Produce (Potatoes) Act, 1930, the purpose and scope of which are too well known to require elucidation.

I intend to make a fuller statement on the subject when the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture is reached. Meanwhile, I may mention that I propose introducing a Bill the object of which is to promote the dairying and allied industries by means of export bounties on butter and other milk products.