Agricultural Import Shortages

April 14, 1942

Report Outline
Raw Material Losses from Japan's Conquests
Domestic Efforts to Relieve Import Shortages
Help from Latin America on Shortages

Raw Material Losses from Japan's Conquests

Stoppage of Essential Far Eastern Imports

The rapid sweep of Japanese armed forces through the Southwest Pacific has already deprived the United States of access to many important sources of agricultural raw materials, and current military operations in and around India and Ceylon may further disrupt imports from those producing areas. The seriousness of these losses of imports varies with the importance of the product and the degree to which its production centered in the Far East, thus making it difficult or impossible to develop other sources of supply.

The most severe loss to the United States has been the stoppage of rubber imports, which normally total about 600,000 tons a year. In recent years only two per cent of the country's imports of raw rubber have come from areas other than the Far East. From 1935 to 1940, annual average shipments of cinchona bark (source of quinine) to the United States amounted to 2,384,000 pounds, about 90 per cent from territory now held by the Japanese. Silk imports, 90 per cent of which normally originated in Japan, have been almost completely stopped since July, 1941. Tea purchases last year amounted to more than 107,000,000 pounds, all except perhaps 2,000,000 pounds coming from the Orient.

The Office of Price Administration estimates that reduced sugar imports from Pacific regions will eliminate more than a million and a quarter tons from import figures, or about one-fifth of all sugar imported by the United States during 1941. Foreign purchases of fats and oils normally amount to two billion pounds, about 15 per cent of total United States requirements, and sources of about one billion pounds are now cut off by the Japanese. Access to a number of medicinal and spice plants has been completely or partly blocked. From the Netherlands Indies came some 83 million pounds of henequen and sisal during 1939, and practically the entire world production of abaca fiber is confined to the Philippines.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Aug. 06, 1943  Voting in 1944
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Apr. 14, 1942  Agricultural Import Shortages
Feb. 10, 1942  Disease in Wartime
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Jun. 19, 1941  Sabotage
Dec. 13, 1940  Shipping and the War
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Exports and Imports
Farm Produce and Commodities
U.S. at War: World War II