HC Deb 10 March 1947 vol 434 cc944-5
43. Mr. Walter Fletcher

asked the Minister of Food if he will obtain from the Tripartite Commission the figures of export of rice from Siam during the months of November and December, 1946, and January and February, 1947, and inform the House.

Dr. Summerskill

Exports of rice from Siam were as follow: November, 1946, 56,228 tons; December, 1946, 75,613 tons; January, 1947, 45,778 tons: February. 1947, 19,541 tons.

Mr. Fletcher

Will the Minister say whether the drop to 19,000 tons for the last month mentioned is due to the failure of the Government's new policy by which only 10 per cent. of the foreign exchange is given to the producer of rice, and could not the Government bring more pressure to bear in view of the disastrous effect this is having in Malaya and other Far Eastern territories?

Dr. Summerskill

No, I will not agree to that. The reason why it has dropped is due to the fact that the Government of Siam are no longer prepared to give inducements because, as the hon. Member knows, following the inducements, many areas were completely denuded because the price of paddy went up to £35, but I can give the hon. Gentleman this comfort that the estimate for the movement of rice to Bangkok between the 1st January and 20th February total 94,782 tons, and it is estimated that the exports for March will reach 75,000 tons and for April, 100,000 tons.