Natural Fats.—It is important to bear in mind that there is an acute shortage of fats throughout the world. Most of the great sources of tropical fats, palm oil, copra and ground nut oil, are still producing much smaller quantities than before the war, partly because a lack of consumer goods makes the natives disinclined to collect raw material, partly because it takes a long time to rebuild a complicated industry and trade that was wrecked in many areas to a large extent by the upheaval of the war. Other sources of raw fats that were available to us before the war have dried up entirely, so far as we are concerned. India no longer exports edible oils. But, even if these sources of fat were as productive now as they were before the war there would still be a big world shortage, so great has become the demand for fats. As I see the problem, the only real solution, although it necessitates taking a very long‐range view, is rapidly to push ahead with the development of ambitious undertakings in the tropical belt of the world, similar in character to the ground‐nut scheme that our Government has had the courage and initiative to launch. The potential productivity of the vast tropical belt is prodigious, if the enormous tasks of dealing with disease, infestation, sanitation, fertilisation and land conservation can be successfully tackled, as I am confident the pioneer experimental attack in East Africa will demonstrate. Such developments will provide not only the fat so greatly needed for human use but enormous quantities of animal feeding stuffs with which to increase the production of bacon, meat, poultry, milk, butter and cheese. But, as I have remarked, this is a long‐range view. It will be asked whether there is any alternative likely to bring about an increase in. the supply of fats during the next two or three years. There is a possibility that there may be a steady, if slow, improvement. The supply of tropical fats will, I think, tend to get a little better as conditions in the producing areas gradually return to what they were before the war, and there is also the hope, perhaps a rather slender one, that food for livestock will not be as restricted in the next year or two as it has been. Production of whale oil is also on the up‐grade. So much, then, for the supply of ordinary natural fats, but, as we should consider every possible approach to the problem, passing reference should be made to other potential sources of supplies. There are two directions in which much exploration has been undertaken. In both the Germans were the pioneers.
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