I move amendment No. 2:—
Before Section 2 to insert a new section as follows:—
() (i) On a day appointed by the Minister for Finance, such day to be at least three months before the fixing of the rate of wheat levy, the board shall recommend, in respect of wheat to be milled from the following crop—
(a) Prices ex mill for shop and bakers flour.
(b) A fair price to flour millers for K.D. native wheat of 15 per cent. moisture or under ex mill or store, to be used for flour milling.
(ii) In making the recommendations named in sub-section (1) of this section, the board shall have regard to—
(a) The cost of living.
(b) The cost of comparable foodstuffs.
(c) Rise and fall in national income, wage rates and wage agreements.
(d) Rise and fall in costs of production of the crop, including labour, seed, fertilisers, fuel oil, cost and depreciation of farm machinery, rates on land, and profits from other farming activities.
(e) Rise and fall in costs of handling, drying, transporting, insuring, and milling native wheat.
(f) Probable cost and percentage of foreign wheat to be included in the grist.
(iii) The Minister and the Minister for Finance shall have regard to recommendations made under this section.
This section refers to the prices the farmers may expect for the amount of native wheat which is to be used for conversion into bread. At present there is a figure and it is, of course, the figure of last year, when, in fact, the farmers were paid for all their wheat as if it were all to be used for conversion into bread and the Exchequer bore the loss. In my view, the farmers are entitled to have the maximum amount of wheat used for human foods and also to have it used at prices which shall be fair and commensurate with the cost of living and the rise and fall in all their own costs and the other factors mentioned.
This board will have a preponderance of growers' interests upon it and the farmers have no way, except through agitation or making statements through their own organisations, of making representations to the Government on what price the ordinary consumer shall pay them for the wheat they produce. In the first amendment, we referred to the amount of wheat they would be entitled to sell for use as human food and this refers to the price at which they will be entitled to sell it. I believe the board should be entitled to make a recommendation based on the factors set out in this amendment. I shall not say much more about it now except that it is the only way in which it will be possible to have a fair selling price year after year.
A national wages agreement was concluded since the present prices were fixed for the amount of native wheat to be used for human food this year. Yet the amendment does not ask that the people who benefit from that wages agreement shall have to pay more for bread. Of course, in fact they must pay more because the subsidy was removed. The national wage agreement must look after that, but the farmer is getting approximately the same price as before that agreement. That means that everything he purchases for the production of the wheat is dearer. His raw materials cost more. In view of these factors, he should be entitled to make his representations to the board which will dispose of his surplus as to what shall be, in his view, the price which the people should pay for the wheat they use. We have been defeated on the question of whether or not he should have any say in the volume of wheat to be used for human food and I feel the Minister should accept this amendment to give the board, which will have a preponderance of growers' interests upon it, the very proper right of saying what they think the people should pay for their bread and flour manufactured from Irish wheat each year.