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now averages about 75,000,000 bushels annually. Wheat is one of the chief crops of New Zealand, and is exported.
Miscellaneous Countries.—The two other South American countries besides Argentina which produce a surplus of wheat are Chile and Uruguay. Wheat is the leading agricultural product of Chile, which exported grain to California and Australia in the early years. Its export wheat now goes chiefly to Peru, Ecuador and the United Kingdom. The exports of Uruguay go to Brazil and Europe. Some wheat is grown in southern Brazil. The production of wheat in Mexico is steadily increasing, but it is insufficient for domestic needs. The per capita production of wheat in France is large, and about one-seventh of the agricultural territory is devoted to this industry. By reason of the liberal encouragement given by the government, and on account of the conservatism of the French peasantry, the area and production of wheat in France has been practically uniform for over a quarter of a century. Excepting Russia, France produces more wheat than any other European country. Austria-Hungary ranks next, and then come Italy and Germany. The latter country stands next to England in wheat imports. Roumania and the Netherlands each export over 25,000,000 bushels of wheat annually, and Belgium exports about half of this amount.
In the tr-ne of the Pharaohs and in the time of Rome's greatness, Egypt was the most important commercial wheat center of the world. It is estimated that Egypt annually furnished 20,000,000 bushels of wheat to Rome. Ancient Mauritania and Numidia, the present Algeria and Tunis, were also long the granaries of the Eternal City. Although wheat is still exported from Northern Africa, it does not form the principal crop. Most of the wheat produced is of the durum varieties, and its chief commercial use is for the manufacture of macaroni. Wheat thrives well in parts of southern Africa, and several million bushels are annually produced.
The World Production and Movement of Wheat.—Ever since the time of Malthus there have been periodical predictions of a scarcity of food supply for mankind. Less than a decade ago Sir William Crookes, President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, predicted that a serious shortage
WHEAT CROP OF COUNTRIES NAMED, 1901-19061
in the supply of wheat would exist by 1931 on account of the increasing population. Such predictions generally over-emphasize the numerical increase in population which is current, and fail to give due regard to the laws which control the production of the food supply and its ratio to population. A scarcity of wheat simply raises its price and increases its production. In the world markets a sudden and acute scarcity of the general food supply is impossible. A gradual decrease in the general food supply until a serious shortage exists is equally impossible, for, whatever the standard of living, population will limit itself long before acute conditions are reached. While several countries each possess many millions of acres of the finest lands— iYearbook U. S. Dept. Agr., 1900-0.
lands that lack only the application of human industry to make them productive of wheat, there is no occasion for any fear of a shortage of grain. The wheat industry of the world must undergo great developments before even its approximate limits can be defined.
The Northern Hemisphere produces about 95 per cent of the wheat crop of the world. This half of the globe not only consumes its entire product, but a large part of the crop of the Southern Hemisphere as well. About 75 per cent of the total wheat crop is produced in seven countries north of the equator. Europe produces over half of the world's wheat, but her population is so great that she consumes the world's surplus in addition to her own product. It was not until after the middle of the nineteenth century that large masses of trans-oceanic wheat appeared in Europe. In the seventies of this century India wheat made its advent into the world market, and two decades later there Wps a sudden and enormous influx of Argentine wheat. The world's production of wheat is continually increasing, and in 1906 it approximated three and a half billion bushels.