Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grain elevators in India

On page 16, I mention India.

But if one were to ask someone today which grain companies are reaping windfall profits from the rising prices of wheat, corn and rice, or helping to formulate American foreign policy concerning agriculture in Cuba, Brazil, the Sudan, Egypt, India, North Korea and China, he or she probably wouldn't know.

Working towards a better understanding of this issue, I note that the first mechanized grain elevator built in India is mentioned in British India, with Notes on Ceylon, Afghanistan, and Tibet, by Henry D. Baker, American Consult at Bombay, Department of Commerce, Special Consular Reports, No 72 (1915), p. 352:

The first grain elevator in India has been completed at Lyallpur, the center of one of the largest irrigation districts of the Punjab Province. This elevator will furnish an experiment of important significance to the grain trade of India, and if successful it will undoubtedly stimulate the building of many other elevators in this country and lead to far-reaching and important changes in present methods for handling, storing and marketing the grain crops of India. The material of the new elevator is reinforced brickwork, and the structure is to comprise storage bins.

No doubt the "far-reaching and important changes" centered upon abandoning the centuries-long practice of storing and transporting grain in sacks and adopting the relatively new American practice of storing and transporting grain in bulk.

It is unclear from this brief notice if the elevator's storage bins if they, too, were constructed of bricks, or if they were constructed of steel, tile or reinforced concrete.

Today, Lyallpur is called Faisalabad and is located in Pakistan, not India. The third-largest city in Pakistan, Faisalabad is no longer a grain market, but a commercial/industrial center.

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