asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the reasons for increases in imports from January to November, 1968 of (a) 241,900 tons of wheat at 81/- per barrel compared with 183,710 tons at 68/9d from January to November, 1967, an increase of 58,190 tons and an increase in the adverse trade balance of £1,716,335, (b) 50,599 tons of barley compared with 6,346 tons, an increase of 44,253 tons and an increase in the adverse balance of £1,002,155, (c) 122,482 tons of maize compared with 108,930 tons, an increase of 13,552 tons and an increase in the adverse balance of £398,440, (d) 182,934 tons of animal feeding stuffs mainly corn offals and soya beans compared with 160,033 tons, an increase of 22,900 tons and an increase in the adverse balance of £1,443,549, giving a net increased tonnage of 88,895 tons involving an increase in the adverse balance of £3,560,497; the explanation for these increases since it is stated by the millers that consumption of bread is decreasing; and what steps he is taking to curb these abnormal imports.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Wheat and Cereal Imports.
All imports of cereals licensed by my Department are necessary to supplement supplies of native grain. With regard to wheat, during the year 1967-68, native wheat was used in the flour grist at the rate of 55 per cent. Since November, 1968, native wheat is being used at the rate of 75 per cent in the grist. In this connection I would refer the Deputy to the reply which I gave to his question on 4th February in which I indicated that the increased imports of wheat in 1968 referred mainly to feed wheat as distinct from bread wheat. With regard to coarse grains annual consumption of compound feeding stuffs increased from 805,000 tons in 1966 to 914,000 tons in 1968.