HC Deb 09 September 1942 vol 383 cc143-4
43. Mr. Riley

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make any statement regarding the shortage of rice in the West Indian Colonies; and what steps are being taken to cope with the shortage of 30,000 tons a year formerly imported into the West Indies from Burma?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

To meet the situation to which my hon. Friend refers, the West Indian Governments have taken energetic measures to restrict their imports of rice by increasing the local production of rice and of other substitute foodstuffs. To provide for the balance of their essential requirements the whole of the exportable surplus of 25,000 tons of rice from British Guiana is being allocated to the West Indian Colonies, and further supplies will be made available from other neighbouring countries.

Mr. Riley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there have recently been riots, both in Jamaica and in the Bahamas, because of the shortage of rice and other foodstuffs, and has he any schemes in contemplation for meeting the difficulty?

Mr. Macmillan

Yes, Sir; the schemes are described in my reply, but, as my hon. Friend knows, there are two problems involved: first, the increase of production in the different islands, and secondly, shipping the goods from one island to another.

Mr. Sorensen

Have any steps been taken to co-ordinate arrangements for the production and distribution of rice among all the Colonies?

Mr. Macmillan

Yes, the controller, as my hon. Friend knows, acts as the co-ordinator.