Oral Answers to Questions — India – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd March 1945.
asked the Secretary of State for India what is the provisional estimated yield of food grains for 1945 and 1946; the present total amount held in reserve and the allowance for deterioration; to what extent acreage devoted to food production has increased over the last five years; and the amount of foodstuffs now imported.
Yields for 1945 and 1946 cannot effectively be estimated now. The average annual yield for the last three agricultural years was 55,253,000 tons. Reserves are held by the Central Government, by Provincial Governments and States and by producers, and I am not in a position to give any estimate of the total. The overall loss from deterioration is estimated as, at present, 5 per cent. Attention is being given by the Food Department and by Provincial Governments to the increase and improvement of storage facilities. The increase in acreage devoted to food in India over the last five years was given last month as if million acres. His Majesty's Government's programme of 1,100,000 tons of food grains to be loaded for shipment to India between October, 1943, and December, 1944, was fulfilled by the middle of January. Further loadings are being made but I am not prepared to give more recent figures.
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the reserve on the one hand and increased production on the other are keeping pace with the increase in population, and is he satisfied that the estimate should not be reduced still further to allow for deterioration?
Everything possible is being done to cope with the deterioration and indeed with the whole problem of a more efficient organisation of the distribution and supply of food grains in India.
I am satisfied that the best possible is being done.