There are several issues associated with the storage and management of food grains in India. Enumerate the steps taken by government in this regard.

Continuing with the ongoing trend, year 2021 saw record food grain production despite the black swan event of Covid-19.

Reasons:

  • Favourable monsoon.
  • Positive growth (3.4%) in agriculture sector.
  • Rising exports (net exporter since 1991).
  • Assured market (government MSP program).

Issues with storage:

  • Biggest challenge however lies in minimising post harvest loss through effective network of storage and management.
  • Current status – unscientific storage, practices like cover & plinth, poorly connected & ill-distributed network of warehouses.
  • Inefficient transport mechanism from farm gate.
  • Everydayness of rotting of food grains due to rain, pest infestation.
  • Distortionary government policy – 90% procurement from select states like Punjab, Haryana and emphasis only on wheat & rice (pulses, oil seeds ignored).

Steps taken:

  • Scientific storage practices like PUSA bin.
  • Warehouse trading receipts to promote efficient trading mechanism.
  • Infrastructure development – cold storage facilities, warehouses (PM-SAMPADA: Agriculture infrastructure fund).
  • Transparency in procurement and storage. E.g. Open trading by FCI.
  • Schemes like operation green.

Leveraging technology like GIS to tag trucks, map warehouse and connect producers to them through apps like SUVIDHA are measures in right direction.

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