DMPQ- What are challenges faced in storage facility for Agricultural product in India?

Storage of food grains in open space

Normally storage in open in the form of CAP is supposed to be resorted to during peak procurement seasons. The storage in the CAP should not be more than a year with at least one turn-over of the stock every 6 months to retain the quality of the food grains. Further, for proper aeration, the cover is to be removed at least 2 to 3 times in a week. Unfortunately, lot of stock is lying in the open where even the plinths are not available. During procurement season, for want of adequate CAP storage facilities, stocks are simply dumped/stacked on open spaces wherever feasible and much of these stock gets damaged because of seepage of water from the ground in the absence of proper plinth or height of ground or due to floods and rains.

Poor condition of storage facilities

Utter disregard to safe and scientific storage practices have resulted in excessive damages to food grains in the central pool maintained by SGAs in various states of india. In addition, failure to ensure early disposal of damaged stock led to blockage of storage space. The loss due to damaged stock is in million tones.

Efficient capacity utilization

For optimum capacity utilization of the existing capacity, timely and proper planning of movement and distribution of food grains across pan India is a pre-requisite. Despite storage constraints in FCI, the utilization of existing storage capacity in various states/UTs was less than 75% in majority of the months during the period 2011-12-2016-17. However, the capacity utilization may not be optimal due to reasons of sudden unanticipated increase in offtake for a particular region or due to unanticipated decrease in procurement.

Following important steps sgould be taken in order to boost the storage facilities:

  • With proper foresight and planning in lifting the stock of the central pool in time from SGAs,money paid as hiring charges and carry over charges to SGAs can be utilized for construction of new storage spaces.
  • Adequate manpower and supervision is required for scientific and safe storage in CAP storage.
  • To save costs, proper plinths should be constructed in vacant government lands which can be used for temporary storage of food grains during peak procurement seasons.
  • Hiring charges of FCI would continue to shoot up substantially in future unless owned storage capacity is augmented proportionately as against creation of storage capacity for guaranteed hiring by FCI.
  • Poor and reckless management and cumbersome paperwork leading to non-availability of storage space even if the space is held by damaged stock for want of disposal approvals from FCI should be dealt with appropriately by decentralized decision making.
  • Non adherence of safe and scientific storage methods should be dealt with an iron hand and the strictest ofü punishment is to be enforced and accountability fixed.
  • The total number of covered storage required for meeting the deficiency of 35 million MT is 7000 godowns at the rate of 5000 tonnes per godown. At approximately 1,450 INR21 per tonne requirement of funds for the godowns, the total funds requirement at current rates for constructing 7000 numbers of covered storage is 5,075 Cr INR excluding the cost of land.
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