Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Cereal Consumption, Production, and Prices in West Pakistan (Notes & Comments)

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, several Punjab Settlement Officers attempted to estimate food consumption rates. These estimates, based on direct observation and ad hoc guesses, were made partly out of academic curiosity, but more urgently, as an aid in establishing the land revenue (i.e., tax) rates. The pre-1926 estimates are summarized in Table I, expressed in pounds of wheat and other foodgrain consumption per person per year1. Broadly speaking, the later, more systemtic observers (e.g., Sir Ganga Ram and C. B. Barry), found lower consumption levels than the earlier observers. It was generally accepted that the rural populace ate better than urban dwellers. Despite the ingenuity of the early Settlement Officers, their compiled estimates suffer from all the difficulties of haphazard small sample observation. Given the revenue purpose of the estimates, they may be biased towards the able-bodied, economically active, population. Further, the very early estimates may have confused dry weight with cooked weight, including water.

G. C. Hufbauer

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