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British Food Journal Volume 30 Issue 12 1928

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 December 1928



Wherever one meets farmers, in a representative or private capacity, the same impression is left upon one's mind. The business of farming cannot go on long as things are. In solemn tones, one is assured that “something must be done to help matters.” A close survey of past experiences leads agriculturists to expect little from Parliament, and there is an increasing disposition to explore what little fresh ground may remain in an attempt to obtain relief from an impossible position—impossible because of its prolongation rather than its passing severity. The idea seems to be to turn to the markets and systems of marketing, without, of course, neglecting the basic business of production. It is on the farms that the foundations of success are laid, and that fact will not be overlooked. But recent years have shown that something more than a foundation is necessary to ensure prosperity, or even to permit of endurance. The few adverse farming years, marked by a lack of sun, that preceded 1928 tended to obscure the issue, but the brilliant summer and autumn of the present year disclosed the fact that production was not the root cause of trouble in British farming, and showed that it was in the markets that the difficulties originated and developed. The lessons of the current year are clear and definite and, recognising the force of this exposure of crippling evils, and the possible line for remedial measures, agriculturists, with a unanimity that gives weight and encouraging significance to the suggested action, have resolved to direct their energies and inquiries into new channels. Instead of confining their attentions to their own deficiencies, and striving to discover on the farm remedies for the troubles that afflict them, they are determined to extend their investigations into the markets. They have not acted in haste in resolving upon this line of procedure. On the contrary, they have long been blamed for not paying greater attention to their markets—for not studying more carefully what the best buyers required, and for not establishing facilities for reaching the best markets more directly and at less cost to themselves. There appears to be no one supreme authority through which a move could be made to establish better and more equitable conditions for the marketing of home‐grown produce. In the absence of such a body or Department, it is suggested that the Empire Marketing Board might be induced, or enabled, to come to the assistance of farmers in their efforts to improve their position in their own markets. The Ministry of Agriculture has done good service already, and may achieve still better results; but greater concentration is needed in some directions than has yet been attempted. The Empire Marketing Board may be restricted in the manner in which it can render help, but if its sphere of action could be extended to permit of its giving definite information concerning the relative values of alternative supplies of food, the Board would do a great work both for home agriculture and the consuming public. Existing institutions have not given satisfaction to British farmers in so far as their inquiries into matters of this kind have been directed and carried out up till now. Producers and consumers are left in ignorance regarding the relative merits of home and oversea foods of various kinds. The idea that obtains among thinking farmers is that such inquiries as have been made have been planned to favour their competitors. Whether or not such an impression has any justification may be disputed, but it is surely unwise to allow the impression to remain for want of evidence to the contrary. The Ministry of Health has not disproved this view of things, and home producers are becoming impatient with the manner in which their interests are considered in high quarters. The Ministry of Agriculture, it is believed, is working with diligence and wisdom to the limit of its powers, but the opinion is gaining ground that the Empire Marketing Board is the only hope of straightening out things on an equitable basis that would give justice to the producers in the home country. Marketing business need not be interpreted too literally or narrowly. The realisation of produce does not consist merely in placing goods on the market. The grading and classification of commodities would certainly come within the scope of prudent trade development. The suggestion is that the Empire Marketing Board might devote attention to investigations into the nutritive values of foods from different sources, not as they leave the country of production but as they are delivered to consumers in this country. There is wide scope for useful inquiry in this direction. No strong case for investigation might exist concerning articles such as wheat, which presumably do not deteriorate in transit. But in the case of meat, dairy produce, and other perishable commodities, it is believed that the treatment to which the articles have to be subjected to permit of travel affects their food value. It may be contended that chemical evidence exists to satisfy the authorities on this point already. But experienced stockowners, for instance, who have studied the feeding of their herds and flocks, will not accept analytical results as infallible proof. They insist that there should be actual demonstrations of food values. The Empire Marketing Board would do a great service if it could make good this deficiency on the part of the older authorities in respect to human food. It would be easy to suggest suitable lines for research and practical trials. There is, for example, the difference between fresh and chilled or frozen meat; between fresh and tinned milk; between fresh and synthetic cream. The question is far more urgent than appears to be imagined in Government centres. If the results should be different from what home producers expect or could wish, the position would be so much the worse for them. But they have reached a point in their fight against what they believe to be unequal opposition when they prefer to know the worst.—“The Times.”


(1928), "British Food Journal Volume 30 Issue 12 1928", British Food Journal, Vol. 30 No. 12, pp. 111-120.




Copyright © 1928, MCB UP Limited

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