Written Answers. - Tea Supply Statistics.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state: (a) the quantities of tea imported, during each of the past five years; (b) the stocks of tea in the country at 31st March, in each of those years; (c) the present stocks of tea; (d) whether it is intended to increase the tea ration in the near future, and if so, to what extent.

The following quantities of tea have been imported during each of the last five calendar years:—

Year.

Imports of Tea.

lbs.

1942

11,611,000

1943

6,145,000

1944

6,125,000

1945

7,830,000

1946

15,824,000

The stocks of tea in the country on the 31st March in each of those years were as follows:—

lbs.

31st March, 1942

2,703,000

31st March, 1943

5,248,000

31st March, 1944

3,189,000

31st March, 1945

2,510,000

31st March, 1946

3,019,000

The latest available figures for tea stocks held in this country are in respect of the 1st March, 1947, at which date the stocks held amounted to 3,583,000 lbs.

With regard to the possibility of increasing the tea ration, I refer the Deputy to the statement which I made in the Dáil last week, on the Estimate for my Department.