According to officials of the Food Ministry, the Union administration will probably start work on a new, centralised food storage system which will digitally integrate state-run granaries and silos across the country, store and distribute subsidised cereals for almost 800 million beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act.
Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal revealed during a study the necessity of a plan to integrate and technologically update grain storage.
The Food Corporation of India (FCI), India's principal grain management organisation, is the world's largest food grain shareholder.
The FCI, which purchases grain from farmers at a guaranteed price established by the government, has purchased a record 41.3 million tonne of winter-sown wheat so far in fiscal year 2021-22, up 12.3%. During 2020-21, the food agency also purchased 80 million tonnes of paddy.
The government buys foodgrains from farmers at guaranteed rates and distributes them to the poor at discounted prices, selling wheat and rice for $2 and $3 per kg, respectively, under the procurement system.
India, on the other hand, has less modern silos, which are state-of-the-art storage structures that prevent rotting and contamination. Official data shows that less than 0.006% of stored food goes to waste in storage, which is well within industry standards, according to officials.
“While this may appear minor in percentage terms, the absolute amount might be significant,” said Abhishek Agrawal of Comtrade, a commodities trading firm.
The Union food minister encouraged key policymakers and bureaucrats to develop a "master plan" for storage facilities and land during the review meeting.
The minister was reported in a release as stating, "Environment should be established to enhance public-private partnerships and investment."
A "single, technologically advanced storage management infrastructure," according to the minister, is needed. He stated that they must consider all storage infrastructure across the country in terms of convergence and aggregation.
The ministry of food processing industries said it was working on 228 pre-cooling and chilled storage projects for perishable agriculture commodities with the private sector.