Item agreed to.
Fertilizers and pesticides administrator- administration, $31,850.
David McKenzie Wright
There is considerable information with respect to this item that I should like to have from the minister. Last fall I was in the maritime provinces, and there I found a considerable shortage of fertilizer among the potato growers of New Brunswick and the other maritime provinces. At that time fertilizer dealers had orders to supply only the customers that they had the year before and not to allow them any more than they had the year before. That meant that there could be no increase in the production
of potatoes in those areas, because they require fertilizer if they are to produce a good crop.
This spring I also had a letter from Saskatchewan and I should like to read a short portion of it. It deals with this matter and is as follows:
We usually order our fertilizer in the fall. Last fall we ordered one hundred tons from our local agent. A few days ago we were notified by our agent in Carragana that owing to a federal order he would not he able to fill our, fertilizer orders. All he could get on his hundred ton order will be twelve tons. Out of that twelve tons he will have to supply registered feed growers first, which will take all he has.
Then the letter goes on to point out that in this particular area of Saskatchewan it is essential that they have fertilizer; that it means that their crops ripen probably a week or ten days earlier and that they get away from the frost. It also says that there is a considerable production of live stock there for which this feed is necessary. I took this matter up with the fertilizer administrator, and the information which he gave me was that there was a shortage of fertilizer in Canada and that the government were doing the best they could to see that there was a fair distribution of it.
A few days later I received bulletin No. 2095 from the Department of Trade and Commerce. It is dated March 25, and in it I find a statement of exports of principal commodities. In the month of February, 1943, there were exported from Canada $1,268,000 worth of fertilizer, while in the month of February, 1944, there were exported $2,268,000 worth. In other words, during the month of February we exported from Canada a million dollars' worth more fertilizer than we had the year before, while apparently our own producers in Canada, who are producing the grain, are unable to obtain this fertilizer. There must be some explanation for this. I know the fertilizer used in New Brunswick is probably not the same kind of fertilizer that is used in western Canada, but I know the fertilizer which is being exported from western Canada is of the type that is being used out there on the farm. When we can get a better price in the United States for the grain we produce in western Canada, but it is needed in Canada, the government sees that our home market is supplied. In the matter of fertilizer apparently it is a different proposition. If these figures are correct, manufacturers of fertilizer are allowed to export large quantities to the United States where the price levels are higher than ours and where they get more for fertilizer than if it were sold on the Canadian market.
When the minister's estimates are up tomorrow I should like him to tell us the amounts of fertilizer that were imported into Canada during the years 1942 and 1943 to date, and the amount which was exported from Canada of different types so that we shall know exactly what the position is. I think the farmers of Canada are entitled to all the fertilizer that they can get, if that fertilizer is in Canada, or if it can be obtained for them. I should like the minister to give some figures with respect to that to-morrow.
I think the principle involved is really more important than the figure. It has always been necessary to exchange the ingredients of fertilizer between this country and the United States. There are some things which they have a surplus of and some things which we have a surplus of, and under conditions such as we have at the present time it is, of course, necessary to give as well as take. When there are some fertilizers required there or some of the ingredients of fertilizer mix which is used are required there and we require something else here, well, of course, the commodity is divided up in the manner which is thought advisable.
The fertilizer most used by the farmers of the prairie provinces has been the 11-48 brand of ammonium phosphate. This fertilizer with its fifty-nine units of plant food, is one of our most concentrated chemical fertilizers and therefore much in demand during the war by the United Kingdom, who wish to economize on shipping. The prairie farmers used approximately 6,000 tons in 1942 and 8,000 tons in 1943. The demand this year has been again increased. In order to make good our promises to the United Kingdom we had to notify the Consolidated Mining and Smelting company, who manufacture this fertilizer, that they could not sell on the prairies amounts in excess of last year until our allocations to the United Kingdom and the United States had been made. The company has increased its production, and the fertilizer year is drawing to a close with the amounts promised exported to our allies and 10,000 tons delivered on the prairies. Because of the feared shortage in the west 1,344 tons of 16-20 form of ammonium phosphate and 270 tons of ammonium sulphate have been delivered to the prairie farmer. The net result is that he has received more fertilizer this spring than in any previous year. Therefore I think probably very little complaint can be made about that. I believe it is true that the western farmers are becoming more inclined to use fertilizer and it is going up. It has gone up from six
to eight and now to ten, which would indicate that he is using, if he can get it, very much more than he was using before.
I should like the minister to give complete figures of the imports and exports to-morrow, so that we shall see for ourselves. I have no doubt the minister may be right, but I should like to see the exact figures.