THE FROZEN MEAT INDUSTRY
Some time ago we drew attention to the proposals of Mr Elworthy, as a result of interviews with the principal English agencies for the frozen meat trade, and with the shipping and insurance companies, nnder which it was proposed to guarantee a fixed minimum price of 2£d f.0.b., giving to shippers 40 per cent, of anything above 4£d to 5d obtained at Home, and 80 per cent of all above sd. In so doing we expressed the opinion that such an arrangement would not prove satisfactory to shippers of frozen mutton, and that we were right m that view we have since had ample proof m the views expressed by several of our principal fiockmasters and exporters. These views are very clearly set forth by Mr John 'Douglas, of Waihao Downs, m a letter to onr Timaru contemporary, the " South Canterbury Times," that, gentleman conI demning the proposed arrangement on principle, because he very properly holds that it is unsound policy to entrust the business to consignees, who will be both buyersand sellers, and also on the ground that the guaranteed price is not sufficiently -liberal. Mr Douglas the puts the case : — My answers to Mr Elworthy's recommeodations are : — Ist. While admitting that those interested here are all agreethat for years past the Home returie for frozen mutton have been inadequate, it does not follow, as a logical conclusion, although the prices proposed under the new regime would m some instances be better than they have been — and that is not promising much— that therefore; they should be viewed aa satisfactory, and that shippers should thus accept and bind themselves accordingly. 2nd. The proposition is objectionable on the grounds as already stated, that the consignee m a certain sense would be both buyer and seller ; further, that tbe guarantee is not sufficiently substantial to warrant a certain share.. An the price plained ; again, the consignors not having $ny responsible person m their own exclusive interest managing the business at Home. &eir interests *onld be thus left to look after themaekes, and were the results of this to be gauged by past experience— well, the less said abont it the better. 3rd. I assert that shippers are entitled to a price or return commensurate with the price ruling for New Zealand frozen mutton m the Home market. No doubt it is difficult to determine what is actually being obtained for New Zealand mutton, aa so much of iUs sold as best Scotch. That this is *o need not be wondered at as about S months ago an English expert pronounced New.Zealand mutton to be more wholesome than the home grown, the former being ied upon the natural products, whereas the borne mutton, most of it, is fed upon artificial food such as oilcake. The result of this, announcement was a run npon New Zealand mutton, and, if this demand had been honestly foßtered, the price and reputation of New Zealand mutton would then have been established. But what can growers expect when inferior Biver Plate mutton is sold as New Zealand mutton, while good New Zealand mutton ia sold as the best Scotch? Not only this, but a gentleman connected with the London meat trade, and. who knows, told me that independently of damning the name of New Zealand mutton by substituting for it inferior River Plate mutton, the actual quotation for New Zealand mutton can be lowered, and is to, when occasion requires, by throwing a few thousand of our frozen sheep on tbe market at a sacrifice. Will this fact m any* measure explain the heterogeneous prices that have been rendered m Borne ot tfre Account sales ? But returning to the question pf commensurate prices, English mutton is quoted m the London metropolitan market on Ist Npyember, at 9tt> per lb, sinking offal. Well, say 8d per lb per carcase, and seeing a large percentage of onr New Zealand mutton is sold as such, sorely j6d per ib is not too much to place as the price of New Zealand mutton, and knocking off even £4d per lb for freezing and other charges would leave ._& per lb even now, c* abbatoir, m New Zealand." As we have said already, we think Mr Douglas's contention that buyer and seller should be kept distinct is a sound one, but as to the sufficiency of price nnder Mr Elworthy's proposed arrange meat wa are bound to say that there does not appear to ba any great weight m Mr Douglas's argument, For assuming that under a proper managf* ment of the trade, 6d a lb m England could be commanded as the average standard price of our mutton, and that this, after deducting 2£d per lb for freezing and other charges, left a nett B£d to the shipper, then there would only appear to be a tenth of a penny difference between tbat and the nett price under the Elworthy metbed. Aa thus ;— Out of 4_4 the shipper receives 2£d, equal to forty-five twentieths of a penny ; of the f d of a penny between 4Ad and 5d he receives 40 per cent, eqsal to seven-twentiethß, and of the penny above _»d he receives 80 per cent, equal to sixteen- twentieths, 45 plus 7 plus 16 twentieths of a penny, equalling three pence and two-fifths, or one tenth of a penny less than #|d. This teptb .of ja penny is equal to cay sixpence per carcafiey
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VIII, Issue 2027, 3 January 1889
THE FROZEN MEAT INDUSTRY Ashburton Guardian, Volume VIII, Issue 2027, 3 January 1889
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