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Apr 24, 2012 at 09:12am IST

Foodgrain set to rot, storage problem in sight

New Delhi: India is facing a problem of plenty. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) is anticipating an unprecedented storage problem in light of a record production of 252 lakh of foodgrain.

Does this mean that precious grain that could feed millions will rot again this year?

Notably, a lot of foodgrain got rotten in 2011 and the story is set to be repeated this year as well.

However, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has said that there is no need to panic.

"There is record production this year but the problem is storage and the concerned department should take care," said Pawar.

In fact, if estimates are accurate, the FCI and state agencies may have to manage the highest ever stock levels.

An internal note of the Food Corporation of India paints a grim picture. According to the note, as much as 318 lakh tonnes of wheat may have to be procured which is an all time high.

Punjab may have 25.05 lakh tonnes higher in comparison to June 2011 and Haryana may have 26.52 lakh tonnes more.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh will have 31 lakh tonnes of surplus wheat which has to be moved to other states.

This is slated to result in lower procurement in Punjab and Haryana.

Substantial quantity may have to be stored in unscientific plinths and the off-take is likely to be 88.11 lakh tonnes less than procurement.

FCI and state agencies will neither have storage capacity nor the manpower to manage increase in stock in the states.

India is looking at a record production of 252 lakh tonnes of foodgrain and is yet again unprepared either to procure or to store. The food minister has asked for an additional allocation of 8 million tonnes but with the subsidy bill already high, the Finance Ministry is taking its time.

Unless decisions are taken quickly, the foodgrain is bound to rot this year too.

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