Private and Confidential.
T.U.C. ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
Notes on Post-War Food Problems.
II. Food Shortages and De-Rationing.
1. OUTLOOK FOR RATIONED FOODS
(a) Meat and Bacon.
During the war, exports of meat and bacon from the Continent to U.K. have entirely ceased. Production in U.K. has been drastically reduced, since British agriculture has been required to concentrate on crops for direct human food, i.e. cereals, potatoes, sugar beet, vegetables, milk, rather than on meat production, which uses up many times its own bulk of grains and fodder crops.
The reduction in meat and bacon supplies for U.K. from these two causes is of the order of 25% of pre-war supplies.
It is likely to be several years after the conclusion of European hostilities before meat and bacon exports from the Continent recover. Ten years elapsed after the last war before the animal population of the Continent regained its pre-war level, and in this war the reduction of herds in exporting countries may prove to have been on a much greater scale.
The restoration of U.K. cattle population may be speedier; but it will depend on the possibility of increasing supplies of feedingstuffs by reviving their import or increasing imports of bread grains. No large-scale move of this kind can be undertaken until the worst of the continental shortage of direct human food has been met and liquidated.
(b) Dairy Produce.
Total U.K. butter supplies are only one-third of pre-war. Large imports of butter were formerly obtained from the Continent. There is no early prospect of any large resumption of these imports. Home production has also declined on account of the increased demand for liquid milk, and its early re-expansion is improbable. Even if larger imports can be obtained from the Southern Dominions, they will not bring total supplies anywhere near the pre-war level.
Cheese is in heavier consumption at present than it was before the war. But if U.S.A. supplies fail, as is not improbable, the total supply will fall below pre-war, until the Continent again becomes a supplier.
Condensed Milk and Milk Products are also expected to continue in short supply. In pre-war years large imports of the former were obtained from the Continent.
(c) Food from the Far East.
War developments in the Far East have cut off about 40% of pre-war world exports of vegetable oils and fats, about 20% of pre-war world exports of sugar, and 90% exports of rice.
About half the world exports of tea have been interrupted, including the large supplies from Java and from China.