The Impact of the Second World War on Commercial Rice Production in Mainland South-East Asia

  • Paul H. Kratoska
Part of the Studies in the Economies of East and South-East Asia book series (SEESEA)


South-East Asia’s commercial rice economy all but collapsed during the Japanese Occupation owing to the disruption of existing trade networks and a severe shortage of transportation and fuels. Unable to find a market for their grain, farmers in rice-exporting territories cut back on production, and by the time the war ended were growing little more than they needed for their own use. In rice-deficit areas, people experienced food shortages and malnutrition as they struggled to grow vegetables and root crops to replace imported rice. The post-war period brought a degree of recovery, but government controls and domestic political turmoil prevented the restoration of the export trade, while territories with food deficits before the war increased agricultural production to reduce their dependency on imported rice.


Rice Production Milled Rice Mekong Delta Draught Animal Southeast Asian Study 
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  1. 1.
    Information on policies in the Netherlands Indies is taken from an address by the Director of Economic Affairs to the Volksraad during 1934. The copy in my possession is a translation found in the Thai Archives (Ministry of Foreign Affairs 67.10/43), and does not indicate the date of the meeting. See also J. van Gelderen, The Recent Development of Economic Foreign Policy in the Netherlands East Indies (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1939 ), pp. 27–9.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    V.D. Wickizer and M.K. Bennett, The Rice Economy of Monsoon Asia ( Stanford: Food Research Institute, Stanford University, 1941 ), pp. 92–7.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Suehiro Akira, Capital Accumulation in Thailand, 1855–1985 ( Tokyo: The Center for East Asian Cultural Studies, 1989 ), pp. 124–5.Google Scholar

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© Paul H. Kratoska 1998

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  • Paul H. Kratoska

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