HC Deb 31 October 1944 vol 404 cc640-1W
Mr. G. White

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare if he can give the House any recent information on food conditions in Germany.

Mr. Foot

Although the weather was very favourable throughout last winter and spring, during this summer most crops in Germany, and in particular root and fodder crops, suffered from prolonged and widespread drought. Bread grains, which are largely winter sown crops, suffered least of all, and are only a few per cent, below last year's harvest. Oats and barley, on the other hand, appear to have suffered considerably, and these crops have undoubtedly fallen well below expectations. Potatoes also have suffered greatly from drought, though the crop is somewhat better than last year, when the potato harvest was one of the worst for decades.

It seems likely that the shortage of fodder will affect the livestock situation. While every attempt is being made to avoid inroads into cattle numbers, preparations are under way for the premature slaughter of a number of young pigs. This may create some meat surplus in the near future, but will probably lead to shortage at a later stage.

There can be little doubt that the fat situation is a matter of serious anxiety to the German authorities. This year's oil seed harvest is hardly any larger than last year's. Milk and butter supplies have declined in spite of all efforts to increase the farmers' deliveries, and the reduction in the pig population must to a certain extent affect the output of pig fat. This is serious as, with the exception of Denmark, most of Germany's external sources of fats have disappeared.

In terms of calories, last year's takings from the occupied countries amounted to 10 to 12 per cent. of Germany's total intake. This was sufficient to supply nearly the whole Germany army, so that indigenous food supplies could be kept almost entirely for civilian consumption. This year, when most of the occupied food supplying territories are liberated, the German army will need to be fed from German indigenous food supplies and reserves.

It was announced on 16th October that the bread rations were to be reduced, the allowance for normal consumers, heavy workers and very heavy workers being cut by 7 ounces a week (thus bringing the ration down to 79 ounces per week) and children up to six years old and self supples by 3½ ounces a week. It was also announced that 2 ounces of fat, representing 30 per cent. of the normal consumer's fat ration, would be replaced by a meat allocation of about 4 ounces, in addition to the usual meat ration. The general effect of these changes is that the diet for German civilians will become even more monotonous. The loss in calories due mainly to the reduction in the bread ration will amount to 100 calories a day for normal consumers, heavy and very heavy workers, and 50 calories a day for children and self suppliers.

Back to