HC Deb 18 April 1946 vol 421 cc486-7W
Mr. Boardman

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether the recent rains in India have materially improved the food situation there.

Mr. A. Henderson:

No, Sir. Parts of the Punjab and the United Provinces received some rain in the last week of February and the first week of March. But no material improvement is to be hoped for from this. The total rain received over the period November-March was only 2.8 inches against a normal 6.3 inches in the Punjab and 3 inches against a normal 5.9 inches in the United Provinces. It is clear that any improvement in the poor outturn of the spring crops which was apprehended in the areas affected will be negligible in relation to the overall shortage in India.

India's import requirements for the first half of this year were stated to the Combined Food Board as two million tons of wheat and half a million tons of rice. Allotments of 1.4 million tons of wheat or maize and 145,000 tons of rice were proposed by the Board, and India will require at least those quantities in order to maintain the existing low cereals ration of 12 oz. per adult per day.

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