CHAPTER VII.--PROSPECTS FOR THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE.

Agriculture. (continued)

  467. In these circumstances, it is perhaps not surprising that, for some years prior to the present emergency, agriculture in Newfoundland showed a downward rather than an upward trend. The following official figures give the particulars of the agricultural production for the years 1921 and 1932:--

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS.
 Description.
1921
(Census).
Quantity.
1921
(Census).
Value.  $
1932
Estimate.
Quantity.
1932
Estimate.
Value.  $
 Wheat,
 Barley,
 Oats
 9,220 bushels 
9,802 
1,500 bushels 
1,500 
 Straw
--- 
--- 
1,850 tons 
22,200 
 Hay
49,250 tons 
2,198,051 
49,000 tons 
980,000 
 Potatoes
529,102 bls.
1,912,681 
447,000 bls. 
894,000 
 Turnips
68,464 bls.
208,700 
85,200 bls. 
127,800 
 Other root
 crops
4,013 bls.
15,507 
12,000 bls. 
42,000 
 Cabbage
 7,391,785 hds.
369,589 
 7,500,000 hds.
375,000 
 Fruits
27,940 gals.
31,326 
20,000 gals.
10,000 
  
  
 $4,745,656 
  
 $2,452,500 

LIVE STOCK PRODUCTS,ETC.
 Description.
1921
(Census).
Quantity.
1921
(Census).
Value.  $
1932
Estimate.
Quantity.
1932
Estimate.
Value.  $
 Milk
3,109,896 gals.
1,865,937 
4,500,000 gals.
2,250,000 
 Butter
588,841 lb.
235,536 
590,000 lb.
236,000 
 Wool
215,152 lb.
32,531 
190,000 lb.
28,000 
 Eggs
1,091,897 doz.
655,138 
1,300,000 doz.
520,000 
 Poultry
242,673    
303,341 
235,185     
235,185 
 Geese
---    
--- 
1,540     
4,620 
 Ducks
---    
--- 
6,950     
10,425 
 Cows
18,024    
1,441,920 
11,833     
475,320 
 Other
 horned
 cattle
9,697    
775,760 
8,550     
299,250 
 Horses
16,340    
1,634,000 
14,095     
986,650 
 Stallions
---    
--- 
400     
28,000 
 Sheep
86,732    
1,300,980 
60,000     
450,000 
 Swine
14,673    
364,325 
5,850     
117,000 
 Goats
14,240    
142,400 
10,500     
105,000 
  
  
$8,751,868 
  
$5,745,450 

  468. The area of the Island is 27,000,000 acres, of which one-eighth may be regarded as water. The area under crops (including vegetable and root crops) was estimated in 1932 at 105,000 acres, as against 95,000 acres in the previous year and 89,000 acres in 1921.

  469. During the last two years great efforts have been made by the Government to impress the people with the necessity for doing all in their power to supplement their resources by the raising of vegetables. Although there are certain stretches of coast line, notably on the western portion of the south coast, where soil suitable for cultivation exists only in small and sometimes inaccessible patches, it may be said, in general, that ample land is available for the fisherman's needs. In some cases the neglect of the land has been carried to such lengths that hard work is needed to bring it back to cultivation; shortage of tools, and lack of even a rudimentary knowledge of how crops should be grown, also create difficulties. But, in spite of these drawbacks, it can be said with confidence that, given the will to do so, there is no reason why, their own efforts to provide for themselves with a sufficient stock of vegetables to last them through the winter. With supplies of home-grown vegetables, fish from sea, river and lake, game in the woods, and the wild fruit which the country yields in abundance, with fuel ready to hand, and with no rent and no direct taxation, even the humblest family in Newfoundland possesses natural advantages which are denied to the poorer classes in the cities of Europe and America.

  470. It has been proved, indeed, by the more provident and energetic members of the community, that much can be done with the garden and small farm to supplement returns from the fishery. Given care and proper cultivation, vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage, beet, carrots and parsnips, and fruits such as apples, plums, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries and currants can be produced in most parts of the Island, while oats can be successfully grown for reaping prior to maturity as food for cattle. In parts of the southern portion of west coast, principally in the Codroy Valley, good results have been obtained in the growing both of fruit and also of Timothy hay.

Brigus, n.d.
Photo by Holloway. From the album of photographs furnished to the Newfoundland Royal Commission, August 1933. Courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives (Coll-207), Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John's, Newfoundland.
Larger Version (69 kb)
Brigus

  471. In 1932 the potato crop was unfortunately ruined by blight, a visitation which brought distress to many homes in the Island, but this year the prospects are good. The Government at the beginning of the season distributed large quantities of seed potatoes to necessitous areas, either for cash or on loan; there was a great increase in planting and a good crop will do much to ease the situation during the coming winter. It is to be hoped also that the distress through which the people are passing in many parts of the Island will encourage cultivation, not at the eleventh hour and in the stress of emergency, but as a permanent habit.

  472. Imports of agricultural products during the last three years have been as follows:--

LIST OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS IMPORTED INTO NEWFOUNDLAND.
 Product.
1929-30.
Quantity.
1929-30.
Value. $
1930-31.
Quantity.
1930-31.
Value. $
1931-32.
Quantity.
1931-32.
Value. $
 Barley
23,099 lb.
940 
24,548 lb.
749 
14,151 lb.
458 
 Oats
677,605 
bushels 
428,137 
514,507 
bushels 
228,558 
382,542 
bushels 
149,266 
 Peas
 (green)
150,277 
lb.
6,213 
235,132 
lb.
8,494 
236,431 
lb.
8,937 
 Peas
 (split
 and
 dried)
1,415,928 
lb.
54,524 
1,619,165 
lb.
47,162 
1,287,879 
lb.
27,992 
 Peas
 (round)
294,984 
lb.
12,957 
260,244 
lb.
8,407 
204,752 
lb.
5,744 
 Beans
2,135,114 
lb.
113,836 
2,164,318 
lb.
62,834 
2,431,026 
lb.
34,723 
 Indian
 Corn
1,461,492 
lb.
29,387 
1,846,033 
lb.
24,967 
1,899,640 
lb.
20,107 
 Flour
372,467 
bls.
2,769,389 
379,839 
bls.
2,043,583 
369,286 
bls.
1,551,287 
 Oatmeal
 and
 Rolled
 Oats
1,205,990 
lb.
42,127 
997,786 
lb.
29,217 
1,000,563 
lb.
26,419 
 Indian
 Corn
 Meal
25,575 
bls.
107,590 
21,992 
bls.
61,390 
25,755 
bls.
55,259 
 Cattle
 Feeds
7,842,049 
lb.
159,653 
7,495,220 
lb.
114,275 
7,128,807 
lb.
88,991 
 Potatoes
178,645 
bushels 
110,035 
123,714 
bushels 
60,210 
171,875 
bushels 
45,204 
 Turnips,
 Carrots,
 Parsnips,
 etc.
21,945 
bushels 
15,411 
17,101 
bushels 
11,275 
12,391 
bushels 
8,502 
 Cabbage
850,513 
lb.
35,497 
1,127,540 
lb.
16,573 
472,316 
lb.
17,359 
 Hay
11,901 
tons 
189,780 
6,342 
tons 
91,325 
4,554 
tons 
45,213 
 Tomatoes
 and
 Onions
--- 
55,756 
--- 
52,077 
--- 
52,635 
  
  
$4,131,232
  
$2,861,096
  
$2,138,096

  Whatever may be said about the production of cereals in Newfoundland, there can be no question that the Island is capable of meeting its own requirements in potatoes and other vegetables.

Image description updated May, 2004.



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