HC Deb 24 June 1920 vol 130 c2414W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture whether, owing to bad harvests and to a decrease in the War-time wheat acreage abroad, there is a prospect of our accustomed supplies of wheat being unprocurable for some unknown time; whether there is a decreasing wheat acreage in the United Kingdom; and, if so, what is the percentage of acreage under wheat at the present time as compared with 1918?


In reply to the first part of the question, there has been a shrinkage in the War-time wheat acreage in certain foreign countries from which we have been accustomed to draw supplies in the past, but on the other hand there are at present considerable stocks of wheat in existence which can be set against the resulting decrease of exportable surplus. In view of the uncertainties of harvest conditions and of legislative action in the countries concerned, I am not in a position to give any confident forecast of the position in the next few years. In reply to the latter part of the question, it is expected that the wheat acreage of the United Kingdom will be below that of last year, as well as below that of 1918, but the returns are now in course of tabulation, and it will not be possible to give any reliable estimate of the extent of the decrease for some weeks.