The Food Corporation of India (FCI) on Thursday declared that it would do away with open storage completely and go for only CAP (covered and plinth) storage by March 2022.
There have been numerous cases across India where large number of foodgrains have been destroyed after exposing to elements, especially rains, as the food stocks were stored in the open by FCI after procurement.
The statutory body said it augmented storage capacity by 69 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) capacity (which includes warehouses of FCI or Central Warehousing Corporation or State Warehousing Corporations) by increasing stack height without incurring capital expenditure.
“Moreover, an action plan has been finalised to convert CAP capacity with 105 LMT covered and scientific storage in consultation with state governments of Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. Work for it has started,” FCI CMD Atish Chandra told the media.
“Action plan implementation for evacuation of entire stock in CAP by March 2022 and discarding use of open storage from rabi marketing season (RMS) 2021-22 has started,” Chandra said.
The FCI has also gone in for standardisation of storage infrastructure and third-party assessment of warehouses by Quality Control of India (QCI) to improve storage.
Union Food Secretary, Sudhanshu Pandey, said, “In RMS 2021-22, there was an all-time high procurement of wheat of 433.44 LMT, an increase of 11 per cent as compared to 2020. Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir recorded their best-ever procurement.”
“Overall, 49.19 lakh farmers benefited with an MSP value of more than Rs 85,603 crore,” he added.
The Kharif marketing season (KMS) 2020-21 saw all-time high procurement of paddy of 894.32 LMT, an increase of 15 per cent as compared to 2020 with Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat, Telangana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand & Uttar Pradesh surpassing their best- ever procurement, he said, adding, “131.12 lakh farmers benefitted with MSP value of more than Rs 1,68,849 crore.”
For KMS 2021-22, a total of 472.47 LMT of paddy was procured upto December 29 at MSP value of more than Rs 92,604 crore and 52.21 lakh farmers benefitted so far.
Just as the FCI got third-party assessment for its warehouses, it engaged QCI for similar assessment of its procurement operations in all procuring states for wheat and paddy procurement covering 434 centres.
The procedure for modernisation of warehousing assets was taken up with steel silos with a capacity of 2.875 LMT at six locations completed in 2021 and silos with 3.125 LMT at other six locations likely to be completed in next six months, Pandey said.