European Food Resources

October 3, 1942

Report Outline
Food Outlook for Fourth Winter of War
Degree of European Self-Sufficiency; World War I to World War Ii
European Food Supplies During Present War
Special Focus

Food Outlook for Fourth Winter of War

Gradual Decline in European Food Production

At the beginning of the fourth winter of the Second World War food supplies in Europe appear to be sufficient for the maintenance of current rations. Although ration allotments do not allow normal prewar consumption of food even for the Nazi conquerors, they are adequate in many nations to prevent serious distress. Great Britain has increased domestic production of foodstuffs, and is further aided by lend-lease supplies from the United States. Definite shortages of essential foodstuffs are apparent in some continental areas, however, and in Belgium, Greece and Unoccupied France undernourishment is acute. Malnutrition—present even in peacetime in almost every nation of the world—will become more widespread and more serious as the war continues.

Incomplete 1942 reports indicate a decrease in aggregate production of food in continental Europe from the levels of 1941, when withdrawals from reserve stocks were necessary to meet ration requirements. Following the severest winter in the last century, the continental grain harvest this year, despite average summer weather, will be perhaps 15 per cent smaller than in 1941, when the grain harvest was of nearly normal size. Notwithstanding increased acreage, the output of root crops is not expected to exceed that of a year ago.

Supplies of livestock products will be lower than in 1941, but the decline will be more moderate than last year's drop from 1940 levels. Numbers of cattle and other meat animals have been reduced by slaughter in nations which have inadequate resources for feeding in order to bring the animal population into line with the available feed supply. Considerable pasture land in these and other areas has been switched to field cultivation. This change should further ease the energy food requirements inasmuch as more calories are obtained from an acre planted to food crops than from the livestock capable of being supported on the same amount of land. The Department of Agriculture at Washington reported in May, 1942, that an acute shortage of dairy products in many nations was indicated for the winter of 1942–43.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World WarII Raw Materials
Oct. 17, 1942  Silver in the War Effort
Oct. 03, 1942  European Food Resources
Sep. 14, 1942  Concentration of Production
Aug. 01, 1942  Rubber Supplies and Replacements
Jun. 05, 1942  Access to Raw Materials
Oct. 30, 1941  Enforcement of World Peace
Sep. 04, 1940  Problems of Tin and Rubber Supply
Feb. 08, 1940  Economic Weapons in the European War
Farm Produce and Commodities
U.S. at War: World War II
War and Conflict
World War II