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An analysis of consumption and imports of bread grains in several European countries Lerohl, Milburn Lewis


The object of this study has been to carry out an analysis of demand for bread grains in twelve Western European countries, to project the demand to 1966 and to match it against possible increases in production. The demand for bread grains was separated into two components, that entering directly into human consumption as flour and that consumed indirectly in all other forms. Direct consumption was projected on the basis of anticipated changes in population and income, it being assumed that tastes and relative prices would exert a negligible influence on quantities consumed. The quantity of bread grain disappearance for purposes other than direct consumption in 1966 was estimated from the trend in the percentage milled into flour to total bread grain consumption. The level of domestic production in 1966 was obtained by calculating the average annual production during 1955-59, and supposing that production would increase during the period of the study by the same percentage amounts as those by which per capita income growth rates were projected. Thus, the import requirement estimates for 1966 were obtained as the difference between the predicted levels of total consumption and domestic production. The results of the study indicated income elasticity coefficients in the European Economic Community which ranged from zero in Belgium-Luxembourg and Western Germany to -0.32 in the Netherlands; the coefficient for Austria was estimated at -0.20 and the elasticity coefficients for the other five countries of the study were in the range of -0.85 for Switzerland to -1.814 for Denmark. Comparison of direct consumption estimates using the coefficients calculated in this study with those calculated by using a United Nations-Food and Agriculture Organization average coefficient of —0.42 gave quite similar results for the nations as a group, but considerable variation in estimates for individual countries. The study indicated that direct consumption of bread grains will decline by 1966 for the area as a whole. The amount of bread grains used for purposes other than human consumption was forecast to increase. However net increases in consumption appeared to be easily offset by possible increases in production so the most likely estimates for 1966 indicated a decreased import requirement for the study countries as a group.

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