Empire Home Front - How did the war affect people's lives?

Previous page



41 Tothill Street,

CCB.L.S.1/41 London, S.W.1.

30th October, 1941


W.V.S. co-operation on Publicity.

3. Ceylon's essential minimum needs of rice for current consumption on a rationed basis which will ensure sufficient for the population, including those engaged in the vital rubber and ton industries and in the operation of the ports and railways, are 30,000 tons a month. The only practicable source of supply in India.

4. To make up for the shortage of cereals which even this supply involves, Ceylon needs an assured supply of wheat and flour from Australia at the rate of 15,000 tons a month.

5. These quantities of cereals provide no margin for building up reserve stocks for which extra quantities of rice, wheat and flour would be needed.

6. During the month of October, Ceylon has received from Australia good supplies of wheat and flour, but only 1,250 tons of rice from India.

7. In any case, other cereals such as wheat can only be substituted to a limited extent, because the rice eating population of Ceylon will not accept them in place of rice. It will be appreciated that the maintenance of the rubber and tea output of Ceylon as well as the services of the port, etc., depend on the maintenance of adequate supplies of rice. The arrivals in the island of food cargoes in recent weeks have been so short as to draw from the Governor a warning that unless Ceylon received at least 15,000 tons of rice by the end of October, a critical situation was bound to arise. There are already signs of deterioration in the output of essential war materials from Ceylon.

8. The production of rice in India in 1942 amounted to about 25,567,000 tons and the forecast of the next crop, which is shortly due to be harvested, indicates an increase of about 2% on that figure. The amount required by Ceylon is, therefore, less than 1 1/2% of the total Indian crop.