Catalogue descriptionBoard of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food Production Department Correspondence and Papers
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Details of MAF 42
Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food Production Department Correspondence and Papers
Volumes of printed general circulars, etc. and files, some of the latter relating to the part played by the Women's Land Army and other women's organisations in the production of food during and after the war.
Some re-registered files from the FPD series are in MAF 43
Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food Production Department, 1917-1919
Administrative / biographical background:
The Food Production Department was established by the president as a department of the Board of Agriculture on 1 January 1917. On 19 February, however, it was constituted as a separate department whose director general was responsible directly to the president. It absorbed many functions from other departments of the board and some from the Ministry of Food and rapidly became a more extensive organisation than the board itself. Its function was to direct agriculture with the object of maximising food production; it co-ordinated the use and supply of land, raw materials, labour, machinery and marketed food. In matters of policy the department was assisted by an Advisory Committee on Food Production. The executive functions were discharged at a local level by County Agricultural Executive Committees, composed partly of members appointed by the President of the Board and partly of others nominated by advisory War Agricultural Committees.
A Women's Branch was set up within the Board of Agriculture in January 1917 and transferred to the Food Production Department in March, to co-ordinate the mobilisation of female labour and to administer the Women's Land Army (later called the Land Army), whereby women were organised for agricultural work. In October 1917 the branch took over from the Agricultural Organisation Society the central administration of Women's Institutes, whose chairman was recruited as an assistant director of the branch, but in 1919 the movement was returned to self-government under the financial aegis of the Development Commission.
The functions and administration of the department were wound up or absorbed by the board in 1919, its separate existence ceasing on 31 March. Under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Act 1919 the County Agricultural Executive Committees were abolished and their functions transferred to agricultural committees of county councils.
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