HC Deb 19 October 1920 vol 133 c749

asked the Minister of Food what are the results of our own and the world's harvests; and how they will affect the prices of food during the coming winter?

The MINISTER of FOOD (Mr. McCurdy)

In Great Britain the area under wheat is 368,000 acres less than last year, and the information to hand does not indicate that this reduction has been compensated by an increased yield. No information has been received from Ireland as to the probable crop in that part of the country. The fears as to North American supplies based upon a reduced acreage have been removed by an excellent yield per acre, and there is also an appreciable improvement in the Indian position. It is still premature to estimate the exportable surplus of Australia and South America, as harvesting will not begin before Christmas, but generally it may be said that available supplies appear adequate to meet British requirements during this cereal year. As regards the second part of the question, it is impossible to forecast the movement of prices in this country, which will continue to depend largely upon movements in the rates of exchange.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give any reason why the Government have allowed thousands of acres of land to go out of cultivation at a time when our food supplies are so short?


I did not say that thousands of acres had gone out of cultivation. What I said was that the area under wheat was less than it was last year, but that does not mean that it has gone out of cultivation.


Is not that due to the fact that farmers prefer to grow barley instead of wheat?