HC Deb 10 March 1884 vol 285 cc1019-20

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether any Reports have been received as to the bearing the large export of wheat has had on the food of the people; whether this export has stimulated the extension of cultivation, or the substitution of wheat for the other grains previously cultivated; and, whether the information and reports on the subject can be made accessible to individuals interested in the important questions involved in the wheat exports?


Sir, in reply to my hon. and gallant Friend, I am sorry to say that I cannot give him any very definite information as to the effect of the large wheat export on the food of the population of India. But, from a careful examination of the price of food grains in the Punjaub and the Central Provinces during the last few years, I find that the large exports are coincident with, and doubtless stimulated by, the low prices of wheat and other food grains consequent on the abundant harvests of the last three years. The wheat export of the two years 1879 and 1880 was only 3,200,000 cwt. The price of Jowar and Bajra—the grain mostly used for food—was about 15 seers, or 301b., to the rupee. In the two years 1882 and 1883, with exports of nearly 34,000,000 cwt., the price of Jowar and Bajra was about 22 seers, or 44lb., to the rupee. The wheat production of the North-Western Provinces and Oude, the Punjaub, and the Central Provinces is estimated at 23,000,000 quarters. The difference between a good and bad crop will be at least 5,000,000 quarters, or a quantity equal to the greatest export yet reached. Much valuable iuformation respecting the wheat trade is contained in The Trade Statement of British India, this year's number of which is now ready for distribution, to which I must refer my hon. and gallant Friend.