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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 49 (July 1946)

[Highlights of policy],   pp. [4]-[29] PDF (18.0 MB)


Page 16

Bremen. flowever oMGiIS recently con-
cluded agreements with the Scandinavian
countries for the purchase of nearly 50,000
tons of fish for the US Zone, to be delivered
during the next few months.
DEPENDENCE ON IMPORTS
The program for preventing starvation
implies not only enough imports to make
up the difference between indigenous pro-
duction and the minimum subsistence level,
but also the maximization of German agri-
culture so that Germany can produce as
much food from her own soil as possible.
Even before the war, Germany was de-
pendent upon imports for nearly twenty
percent of its food. The loss of Silesia and
East Prussia deprived Germany of 250/o of
its arable land; after the war, restrictions
on inter-zonal trade have also upset the bal-
ance of agriculture in Germany. The US
Zone used to be a surplus cattle area and
got most of its bread grains from what is
now the Soviet Zone. Never self-sufficient
agriculturally, its population has increased
during the last few years from thirteen to
about seventeen million persons.
CHARACTERISTICS OF FARMS
Some of the characteristics of German
farms are poor soil and small acreage. The
average farm size in the US Zone is about
28 acres, which in most cases is divided into
half a dozen strips often separated from each
other by several acres of a neighbor's farm.
It would be more efficient if the strips were
consolidated but the same families have been
farming the same land for hundreds of years
and they do not welcome a change. That is
one of the many problems which have con-
fronted American agricultural experts who
are trying to maximize production.
More serious is the shortage of fertilizer.
Germany has been able to get good crops
from poor soil through the use, of large
quantities of commercial fertilizer. During
the war years, nitrogen production in Ger-
many was diverted from fertilizer to- mu-
nitions. Agriculture received during those
years about half as much nitrogen fertilizer
as was required for maximum production.
Since the shortage of fertilizer is world-
wide, Germany was able to import only
small quantities of fertilizer, so that this
spring most small farmers had to depend on
barnyard manure. In cities and towns it
was not unusual to see housewives rush into
the street after a horse had passed by to
collect the manure.
INCREASING FERTILIZER SUPPLY
One of the most important steps recently
taken by MG to increase the fertilizer'
available in Germany was to halt the sea
dumping of 500,000 tons of captured enemy
ammunition and explosives. These explo-
sives will be deactivated and broken down
into their component parts to yield large
quantities of scrap steel and nitrogen.
It is expected   that this  will make
available close to nine thousand tons of pure
nitrogen fertilizer for the 1946-1947 crop
year and an additional 8,000 tons the fol-
lowing year.
Another important step taken by the Food
and Agriculture Branch of OMGUS is an
attempt to increase the acreage under cul-
tivation through the use of airfields, ma-
neuver grounds and former forest areas.
At the same time it is planned to increase
the proportion of direct consumption crops
such as bread grain, sugar beet and potatoes
at the expense of fodder for cattle and hogs.
The number of livestock will be reduced
through selective culling in order to brilg
the livestock population into line with the
reduced amount of feed and fodder crops.
There again, MG and German agriculture
experts run into resistance. Many small
farms have a few cattle which give little milk
but are used as draft animals in place of
horses. Farmers are reluctant to give up
any of their cattle, since with the shortage
of consumer goods there is little that they
could buy with the money they would receive.
(Continued on page 37)
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