HC Deb 11 March 1942 vol 378 c1052
37. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of anxiety respecting rice supplies for Ceylon, he is satisfied that adequate rice reserves and supplies do and will exist; what provision is being made for the future; approximately how much rice is required in normal times and now; whether the present population has recently increased or decreased; and what representations have been made by the Ceylonese Council, or by private organisations, respecting the food situation in Ceylon?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

With regard to the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer my predecessor gave to a similar Question of his on 4th February. The Government of India are co-operating closely in arranging for supplies both now and in the future. In normal times about 30,000 tons of rice is imported into Ceylon a month, but this amount should be considerably decreased by rationing. The population of Ceylon has increased in recent years. No representations have been received from the State Council or from private organisations in the matter.

Mr. Sorensen

May we take it that the Minister is satisfied that adequate rice supplies exist for some time to come?

Mr. Macmillan

My Noble Friend could never be satisfied, with the many dangers which beset us, but the hon. Member may be satisfied that we are pursuing with the greatest possible urgency the problem raised in the Question.