Food and Agriculture in Scotland1

AuthorG. Houston
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9485.1959.tb00101.x
Publication Date01 Feb 1959
RECENT ECONOMIC TRENDS
FOOD
AND
AGRICULTURE
IN
SCOTLAND
THE
main purpose of this article is to bring together and comment
upon the statistical information on Scottish farming that is available
for the last ten years or
so.
An incidental aim will be to compare
the consumption of food and the structure and trends
of
agriculture
on both sides
of
the border.
As
the effect
of
this comparison may be
to draw attention to the differences between Scotland and the rest of
Britain, it may be advisable to stress that for some purposes of analysis
these differences are less significant than the similarities. The general
level
of
husbandry, the degree of mechanisation, the proportion of the
population working on the land,
the
ratio of farmers
to
farm workers,
the size distribution of farms-by these and other criteria one would
be justified in emphasising what
is
common between Scottish and
English farming, not what is different. But there is a separate Depart-
ment of Agriculture, an autonomous Agricultural Wages Board, and
-on occasion-separate farm legislation
for
this country.
A
Scotsman
may therefore feel that reason as well as national prejudice lies behind
any separatism or undue emphasis on points of contrast that may emerge
from a study of this sector of the Scottish economy.
Consumption by someone is the final aim of all farm production,
so
it is proposed to examine, in the first place, the diet of the Scottish
people and the extent to which it
is
provided from home agriculture.
A
description of the present structure
of
output and costs in the
industry will follow, and this, in turn, will be succeeded by an account
of the trends of output, prices and incomes.
Table
I
gives details of the weekly diet in Scottish households in
1956 and reveals the foods that were less
or
more popular in Scotland
than in Britain as a whole.' Comparable percentage figures for 1955
are very similar, with one exception-margarine and butter have
changed places.
It
would appear that the fall in butter prices and
slight rise in margarine prices that took place from 1955 to 1956
brought about a bigger switch to butter in Scotland than in England.
I
should like to acknowledge the help given by members of the Economic
Staff of the Department of Agriculture for Scotland in preparing this article.
None of them,
of
course, are responsible for opinions expressed or factual
errors that remain.
2Comparisons are made with Britain in this case but with the
U.K.
in
most of what follows.
63

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