I am reported in the Official Reports as saying, when I was last referring to this Bill, that owing to the microscopic changes taking place in the situation, where, in fact, I said that, owing to the kaleidoscopic changes that were taking place in the situation, the Minister could not be extensively found fault with if a straight and clear line of policy could not be detected in the orders that he made from day to day. I want to repeat that now, but I think that the Minister should bear in mind that one of the results of the necessity for mending his hand at frequent intervals, as a result of circumstances in Great Britain over which he has no control, is to create a very considerable measure of confusion in the public mind. I appreciate that it may not be possible to give a full and reasoned explanation of each change that is made lest embarrassment should be created with the other party to the agreements which we have to make from time to time.
Three weeks or perhaps a month ago all the bacon factories were bitterly complaining that their stores were packed, that they could not take in any more bacon and that they could not accept pigs. Within the last three or four days the situation has radically altered and we are moving into a period in which it might be necessary to place some restrictions again on exports of bacon. The Minister will realise that the putting of restrictions on exports last January was followed by an immense glut of bacon in the factories and a refusal to accept pigs. If, as a result of the agreement recently made, there is an immense exodus of bacon, it is conceivable that another restriction will be put on which will give rise to a cry from those who will anticipate a similar result to that which arose subsequent to the Minister's January restriction order.
Am I correct in saying that, if the situation remains substantially as it is to-day, we may expect a demand for pigs and bacon in this country greater than our probable capacity to produce and that, therefore, any person who has barley or other foodstuffs on his own land may look forward with confidence to their profitable realisation as a result of feeding them to pigs? My reading of the situation is that there will be a remunerative price and a virtually inexhaustible demand for pig products unless there is some revolutionary change in the international situation during the next 12 months. I think the Minister would do well if he would forecast for us to-day what plans he has in mind, firstly, to deal with the oat surplus to which I referred on an earlier stage of this Bill and, secondly, to indicate to pigs feeders what the probable situation will be in regard to Indian meal supplies next autumn.
I want to renew to-day the suggestion I made a week ago, that a maize meal mixture scheme on the lines outlined by me should be announced. I do not think a Bill will be necessary to do this. I think an order can be made requiring the millers to consign with each parcel of Indian meal a parcel of ground oats or barley and the proportion of ground oats and barley associated with the Indian meal can be varied from time to time in accordance with expert advice and the exigency of supply. It is vital to the success of the pig industry that that should be done in the very early future, and it is vital to the success of the general agricultural policy of the country that the carry-over of surplus oats from this season into the new season should not be allowed and that the old oats should be disposed of before the new oats come on the market. If you do not do that, you are going to have a collapse in the price of oats for the first three months of the new harvest year, with the result that every small farmer who cannot wait to cash his crop is going to get it in the neck, and it will be virtually impossible to persuade these people to sow cereal crops in the ensuing harvest. Those are matters of the most urgent and vital importance and they should be dealt with forthwith. I would be grateful if the Minister would give some indication of the line we ought to pursue in the country in regard to these matters.