In the year 1078 Emperor Shen Tsung issued an edict to lend money and grain to farmers who were poor, in order to help them restore irrigation canals needed for agriculture. The money was taken out of the public treasury and the grain from the granaries. In a.d. 1311 the then Emperor learnt that there was a store of rice in the metropolitan granaries while the people were suffering from want. He ordered it to be placed in the hands of the Chief Conveyance Officer in order to cheapen the price of rice for the people. This officer was ordered to exchange 500,000 piculs of rice for gold and embroideries and to store the latter in the capital. The Governor of East Honan sent a petition to the Court to allow 302,200 strings of copper cash to be lent to the people, stating that the latter would discharge the debt the following year with silk fabrics - one piece of silk gauze being worth 1,000 cash and the gauze being woven in winter.