Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Bill, 1934—Committee.
Sections 1 to 20, inclusive, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 1:—
Section 21, sub-section (1). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—
(1) Paragraph (c) of Part I of the form set out in sub-section (1) of Section 68 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the substitution of the words "prescribed with the consent of the Minister for Finance in relation to" for the words "of three months next preceding the commencement of" now contained therein.
The principal Act lays it down that persons growing wheat and wishing to benefit by the subsidy must register as wheat growers within three months, or three months before the end of the cereal year—that is April. Our experience is that we have to extend the period at different times by legislation; such extension is provided for here by this Bill. We think that in future it is better to have no fixed date but a prescribed date.
Amendment agreed to
Section 21, as amended, agreed to.
Section 22 agreed to.
(1) No wheat bounty shall be payable under Section 71 of the Principal Act on any fraction of a barrel of wheat.
(a) home-grown millable wheat has been sold by any person to the holder of a milling licence, and
(b) such person would, but for this sub-section, be entitled to be paid a wheat bounty in respect of such wheat, and
(c) such holder sells to such person some or all of the flour or meal derived from such wheat and no other wheat,
no wheat bounty shall, notwithstanding anything contained in Section 71 of the Principal Act, be paid to such person in respect of such wheat.
(3) Section 71 of the Principal Act is hereby amended in the following respects and shall be construed and have effect accordingly, that is to say:—
(a) by the substitution in sub-section (1) thereof of the words "prescribed in relation to" for the words "of three months before the commencement of" now contained therein; and
(b) by the substitution in paragraph (a) of sub-section (2) thereof of the words "prescribed in relation to" for the words "of three months next preceding the commencement of" now contained therein.
The following amendments were agreed to:—
Section 23, sub-section (3). After the word "prescribed" in line 33 to insert the words "with the consent of the Minister for Finance."—(Senator Séumas Robinson).
Section 23, sub-section (3). After the word "prescribed" in line 37 to insert the words "with the consent of the Minister for Finance."—(Senator Séumas Robinson).
Question proposed: "That Section 23, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
There is just a small matter that I would like to raise on this section. It says that no wheat bounty shall be paid on the fraction of a barrel. The Minister knows that wheat nowadays is not delivered in barrels of 20 stone; it is delivered in 2 cwts. weight bags. Would the Minister permit a full bag of 2 cwt. to be paid for?
What that section really means is that if you deliver say 150 barrels of four stone each it is on the total barrels you get paid, the subsidy will not be paid on a few odd stone.
I have delivered 112 barrels of 16 stone. If I had an odd bag of 16 stone would I not be paid on it?
You do not get a subsidy on 16 stone, the loss to you in that case would be 4/- over the whole quantity.
Question put and agreed to.
Sections 24 to 27, inclusive, agreed to.
Section 86 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion therein of the following sub-section in lieu of sub-section (1) of the said section now contained therein, and the said section shall be construed and have effect accordingly, that is to say:—
(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to import into Saorstát Eireann any commodity in the preparation of which wheat or any product of wheat is used unless—
(a) such commodity is imported under and in accordance with a licence granted under this Part of this Act by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, or
(b) such commodity is imported by parcel post and is less than five pounds in weight and ten shillings in value, and it is shown to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners that such commodity is intended as a gift for the personal use of the person to whom it is consigned.
I move amendment No. 4:—
Section 28. To delete all after the word "it" in line 33 down to the end of the section and to substitute therefor the words "either is imported as private effects in passenger's baggage or is imported by parcels post and shown to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners to have been sent by a person who is not a trader dealing in such commodity and to be intended as a gift for the personal use of the person to whom it is addressed."
This amendment is really a re-wording of the section as it stands. I do not know whether it makes any material difference. It is re-worded to meet the views of the Revenue Commissioners but the effect is the same.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 5—To delete in line 35 the words "as a gift" (Senator Bagwell)—postponed to Report Stage.
Section 28, as amended, agreed to.
Section 29 agreed to.
(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to sell, expose for sale, or offer for sale any compound feeding stuff unless there is printed, on the package containing such compound feeding stuff or on a label securely affixed to such package, the name and address of the manufacturer and a statement in the prescribed form that such compound feeding stuff was (as the case may be) manufactured in or imported into Saorstát Eireann, under a licence issued by the Minister for Agriculture.....
I move amendment No. 6:—
Section 30, sub-section (1). To delete all after the word "unless" in line 45 down to the end of the sub-section and to substitute therefor the following:—
(a) in the case of a compound feeding stuff not manufactured in Saorstát Eireann, there is printed on the package containing such compound feeding stuff or on a label securely affixed to such package the name and address of the manufacturer and a statement in the prescribed form that such compound feeding stuff was imported into Saorstát Eireann under a licence issued by the Minister for Agriculture, and
(b) in the case of a compound feeding stuff manufactured in Saorstát Eireann, there is printed, on the package containing such compound feeding stuff or on a label securely affixed to such package, a statement in the prescribed form that such compound feeding stuff was manufactured in Saorstát Eireann under a licence issued by the Minister for Agriculture and the number of such licence.
As the Bill stands, it would be necessary to have the name of the manufacturer attached to the label in each case. That is quite all right where a licence is issued to import compound feeding stuffs, but in the case of compound feeding stuffs manufactured at home there is a difficulty with some manufacturers. A manufacturer at times, perhaps, from being overbusy, or perhaps for other reasons, may ask another manufacturer to do some work for him, but he does not like to have the other manufacturer put his own name on the stuff. In such a case we would know who was the actual manufacturer, but the general public would not know.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 30, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 31 to 50, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 51 stand part of the Bill."
With regard to Section 51, a matter arises on Section 50 which is continued in Sections 51 and 52. Section 50 entails that a register must be kept of all oats and barley purchased on the premises, etc., and of all dispositions of such oats and barley. Section 51, sub-section 4, says that any person may obtain a copy of any entry in any register on payment to the Minister of the fee of 1/-. I think that is open to objection and I would suggest that on Report Stage he should insert some amendment to the effect that it should be proved to the satisfaction of the Minister that a person has a valid interest in obtaining such information, because, otherwise a trader, interested from a competitive point of view, might obtain particulars of another trader's business and of the prices that other trader was either paying for his stuff or getting for it—to the detriment of the trader whose register was kept.
I think that if the Senator examines the section closely he will find that under Section 50 we ask the manufacturer to keep certain records and make certain returns. Under Section 51, we must, if the person pays the fee and complies with whatever other regulations there may be, give certain information from the register—not from the records or returns, but only from the register. All that is contained on these registers is the name and address—just sufficient to identify the person.
If the Minister can assure me of that, I should be satisfied, but the sub-section says that any person may obtain a copy of any entry in the register.
Yes, but all that is contained in the register is the name and address.
Section 51 agreed to.
Sections 52 to 57, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 58 stand part of the Bill."
With reference to Section 58, the Minister there is fixing prices in respect of each class of home-grown barley—the minimum price, in terms of a rate per hundredweight, and on the basis that such barley is to be delivered at the premises of the purchaser to be paid by registered oat and barley dealers, and so on. Now, what is the real meaning of that? How does that apply to general business and everything of that kind? I should like the Minister to tell us how his fixing of that minimum price is going to affect general barley markets. That is the information I should like to get.
First of all, it is only maize-millers, oat-millers, and manufacturers of compound feeding stuffs that must buy from the registered dealer. The registered dealer must pay the fixed price, but nobody else is forced to do so. For instance, if a man buys oats to sell for the use of racehorses, he is not bound by the fixed price. Neither is the maltster. It is only grain that is being passed on to the maize-miller, the oat-miller, or the compound feeding stuff manufacturer which is affected.
How does the Minister fix the classes of barley?
On what basis does the Minister fix the price? Is it the market price?
No. The market price might not be high enough. The Minister has to bear several things in mind —a price that will induce farmers to grow more grain, if possible, or at least to keep in tillage what there is already. On the other hand, he cannot fix a price that would be so high as to make it impossible to carry on.
Would not the market price be sufficient?
The market price may be wrong from the point of view I have mentioned. If it is not wrong, we will not fix a price.
Are the market prices determined exclusively by bushel-weight?
The price, of course, is the price that the millers are going to pay who are going to use it for milling purposes?
Yes, but eventually the dealer who is dealing in this stuff goes to a miller? The outside buyer who comes on the market can give what he likes. If he is buying for a client who is not a miller, then the price can be arranged between the client and himself.
I take it, therefore, that if the market price for barley and oats is kept up to a figure that the Minister considers reasonable, such a price as will encourage people to grow barley and oats, there will be no reason for the Minister to interfere, and the two prices—the fixed price and the market price—may amalgamate?
The Minister does not intend to interfere if the price is satisfactory.
But supposing the market price for barley was 12/- a barrel, and that a farmer felt the Minister was likely to fix his price at 16/- per barrel, surely that man will not sell to Jameson's at 12/-? So that what this really means is that the outsiders in making their purchases must come up to what the Minister considers to be a fair price.
That means that the Minister will go into the market and be a competitor there for these cereal crops.
I will not have to go into the market.
The Minister may not actually go into the market, but is not that the position that will be brought about?
With more money into the pockets of the farmers.
That may be so. But the Minister, when he fixes a price, will surely have a very considerable influence on the market, as Senator Wilson has pointed out. The market price for barley may be 12/- a barrel, but if the Minister says that he is going to fix the price at 15/-, then I suggest the fixed price will become the market price, so that in reality the Minister is going to be a very important competitor in the grain market.
I just want to say, in answer to Senator Wilson, that the price will depend entirely on the amount of barley that is in the country. The Minister and the millers will only want a certain amount, and if there is a considerable surplus left over, then I suppose the farmer will have to take what he can get for his barley.
Question put and agreed to.
Sections 59 to 66 agreed to.
(1) The Minister may, whenever and so often as he thinks proper, by order (in this Act referred to as a sale (composite flour) order) do the following things, that is to say:—
(a) prohibit the sale by any holder of a milling licence of wheaten flour unless under and in accordance with a licence issued by the Minister under this Part of this Act; and
(b) do any of the following things, that is to say:—
(i) prohibit the sale, by any holder of a milling licence, of any flour of which wheaten flour is a component part unless such flour is composed of wheaten flour and not less than the percentage of oaten flour for the time being fixed by such order, or
(ii) prohibit the sale by any holder of a milling licence of any flour of which wheaten flour is a component part unless such flour contains not less than the percentage of standard milk powder for the time being fixed by such order, or
(iii) prohibit the sale by any holder of a milling licence of any flour of which wheaten flour is a component part, unless such flour is composed of wheaten flour and not less than the percentage of oaten flour for the time being fixed by such order, and contains no less than the percentage of standard milk powder for the time being fixed by such order.
I move amendment No. 7:—
Section 67, sub-section (1). To delete paragraph (b) and to substitute therefor a new paragraph as follows:—
(b) order that every master baker shall purchase oat groats or milk powder in such quantities as the Minister may prescribe to be used in the wheaten flour in all bread manufactured by him.
I do not think that the Minister will have any difficulty in accepting this amendment. The Minister is stipulating in this Bill the mixture that millers are to use in the manufacture of flour but they fear that this mixture may not keep. What they propose is that they should take a quantity of milk powder and oats proportionate to the quantity of wheaten flour they buy. It is really a distinction without a difference, and I trust the Minister may see his way to accept the amendment.
From the administrative point of view it would be impossible to accept this amendment. Secondly, the amendment would not have the same effect at all as the provision in the Bill with regard to the using up of oats and dried milk, if the necessity for that arose. It would be practically impossible, I think, to see that the bakers used milk powder. It is an easy matter, in a way, to see that the flour millers do so. You can find that out from an examination of their books both as regards the amount of dried milk that comes on to their premises and their output of flour. There is a very complete record kept of the output of flour in each mill. It is easy to see the amount of dried milk that goes in, and to ascertain that the proper proportion is used. Flour can also be tested chemically from time to time.
It would be very difficult, I am afraid, to have all the small bakers registered as they would have to be registered, and to have them properly controlled and supervised. The amount of inspection required would be enormous. The number of flour mills in the country is small, but the number of bakeries is very large. The big objection that I have to the amendment, apart from the administrative difficulty, is that only about one-third of the flour that is used is bakers' flour, and two-thirds of it is household flour. The household flour would not contain either the oaten flour or the dried milk. It is with the dried milk that I am more concerned at the moment, because I am doubtful if the occasion will arise, for some years, for mixing oat flour. We would, therefore, only be able, if this amendment were carried, to use one-third of the dried milk that we would otherwise use. That, of course, would make the Bill, in a way, to a great extent ineffective.
Senator Crosbie said the objection had been raised that the flour may not keep. Much more has been done in other countries in the way of carrying out experiments than has been done here. That is so in Germany. I am told that the Germans have discovered a remedy for the trouble as regards the keeping quality of the flour. I am not able to say that for certain, but I am told that is so. If the Senator will look at Section 66 he will see that "the Minister, after consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, may by order make regulations prescribing the standards to which milk powder must conform" and so on. We may carry out experiments during the next six months to see what is the amount of moisture and perhaps the amount of fat, and so on, that dried milk can contain while not injuring the flour that is being mixed with it, if the flour is to keep for some time. As a matter of fact, we are experimenting to some extent at present on the making of bread with dried milk. We have not done any considerable experimenting as regards the keeping qualities of the dried milk in the flour, but we mean to carry out experiments. We would certainly not bring this part of the Bill into operation until we were quite certain, as the result of experiments, that we had got a dried milk that would keep in the flour. The Senator may feel quite happy on that point.
Would it be dried skim milk?
Then I may take it that there is no intention of using this mixture immediately?
No. We would not require this until about next May, when next season's milk comes in.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 67 to 74 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 75 stand part of the Bill."
This section deals with "Manufacture (wheaten bread) licence." I would like to know from the Minister what is the point in connection with these licences. It looks as if the people who get them can only use pure wheaten flour.
The point is that a person might make the case that the mixture of oaten flour in the wheat was bad from the health point of view for invalids and for use in hospitals, and exemption will be given if a doctor's certificate is produced.
Section 75 agreed to.
Sections 76 to 96, Schedule and Title agreed to.
Bill reported to the House. Report Stage fixed for Wednesday, 5th September.