PM calls for creating more foodgrain storage capacity

PM calls for creating more foodgrain storage capacity

 Amid concerns over storage problems, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today underlined the need to strengthen the country's food security by building additional storage capacity.

"We need to strengthen our food security system by building more storage capacity," the Prime Minister said at a function to mark the completion of third year of the UPA-II government.

At present, the government has storage capacity to store 62.8 million tonnes of foodgrains, while the government stocks as on May 1 have crossed 70 million tonnes.

Stating that there have been notable successes in the farm sector, Singh said, "The agricultural growth rate has risen to 3.3 per cent per annum in the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012), as against 2.3 per cent per annum in the 10th Five Year Plan."

He said the country has achieved a record foodgrain production that crossed 250 million tonnes.

"Rural wages also have increased. Farmers have been given handsome prices for their crops... More than Rs 2 lakh crore was disbursed to 2.75 crore marginal and small farmers as loans," Singh observed while outlining the achievement of farm sector in the UPA-II government.

In the 2011-12 crop year (July-June), the country is estimated to have harvested record 252.56 million tonnes of foodgrains, including all-time high wheat and rice output.

The record production has resulted in record procurement of rice and wheat by the government-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other state agencies, putting pressure on storage.

The UPA government has initiated the process of building additional storage capacity of 15 million tonnes through private-public partnership. However, the bulk of the capacity would be available only from next year.

As a short-term measure, the FCI has been asked to hire private godowns to store new wheat crop if required.

The government is also actively considering allowing export of wheat from its godowns and also distribute additional foodgrains through ration shops.

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