World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector

World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in the Cooperative Sector”. The topic “World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in the Cooperative Sector” has relevance in the Food Management section of the UPSC CSE exam.


For Prelims:

What is the Plan?

For Mains:

GS 3: Food Management

Benefits of the Plan

Challenges in Food Storage for India?

Solutions for the challenges?

Why in the news?

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the constitution and empowerment of an Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) for facilitation of the “World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector” by convergence of various schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Ministry of Food Processing Industries.

The Plan would be implemented by utilizing the available outlays provided under the identified schemes of the respective Ministries. Following schemes have been identified for convergence under the Plan:

1.Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare:

  • Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF),
  • Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure Scheme (AMI),
  • Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH),
  • Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)

2. Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution:

  • Allocation of food grains under the National Food Security Act,
  • Procurement operations at Minimum Support Price

Benefits of the Plan:

1.The plan is multi-pronged – it aims to address not just the shortage of agricultural storage infrastructure in the country by facilitating establishment of godowns at the level of  Primary Agricultural Credit Societies(PACS), but would also enable PACS to undertake various other activities, viz:

  • Functioning as Procurement centres for State Agencies/ Food Corporation of India (FCI);
  • Serving as Fair Price Shops (FPS);
  • Setting up custom hiring centers;
  • Setting up common processing units, including assaying, sorting, grading units for agricultural produce, etc.

2.Further, creation of decentralized storage capacity at the local level would reduce food grain wastage and strengthen food security of the country.

3.By providing various options to the farmers, it would prevent distress sale of crops, thus enabling the farmers to realize better prices for their produce.

4.It would hugely reduce the cost incurred in transportation of food grains to procurement centers and again transporting the stocks back from warehouses to FPS.

5.Through ‘whole-of-Government’ approach, the Plan would strengthen PACS by enabling them to diversify their business activities, thus enhancing the incomes of the farmer members as well.

Importance of Food Storage in India:

  • Food security: India has a large population that heavily relies on agriculture for its food supply. Food storage helps bridge the gap between food production and consumption by storing surplus produce during peak seasons for distribution during lean periods. It ensures a consistent food supply throughout the year, reducing the risk of food shortages and addressing the issue of food insecurity.
  • Minimizing food waste: Efficient food storage practices help minimize post-harvest losses and food waste. This reduces the amount of food that goes to waste, which is not only ethically responsible but also has environmental and economic benefits.
  • Price stabilization: Adequate food storage facilities enable the government and market participants to manage the supply and demand dynamics of food commodities. During times of surplus, food can be stored to prevent prices from plummeting, and during periods of scarcity, stored food can be released to stabilize prices. This contributes to a more stable and predictable market, benefiting both producers and consumers.
  • Market access and value addition: Food storage facilities facilitate better market access for farmers, particularly small-scale producers. With access to storage, farmers can store their produce and sell it at more favorable prices during off-seasons or when market conditions are more favorable. Additionally, proper storage enables value addition activities such as processing and packaging, leading to better market opportunities and increased income for farmers.
  • Supporting agricultural value chains: Effective food storage is critical for maintaining the quality and shelf life of perishable agricultural commodities, such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. By preserving the quality and freshness of these products, storage facilities support the development of robust agricultural value chains. This, in turn, encourages investments in agri-businesses, processing industries, and export opportunities, driving economic growth and rural development.
  • Mitigating the impact of natural disasters: India is prone to natural disasters like floods, cyclones, and droughts, which can severely affect food production and availability. Adequate food storage infrastructure acts as a buffer during such crises by ensuring that essential food supplies are available for distribution to affected areas, minimizing the impact of these disasters on food security.


Challenges in Food Storage for India?

  • Inadequate infrastructure: The lack of proper storage facilities, such as warehouses, cold storage, and refrigeration, is a significant challenge. Many regions in India suffer from a shortage of storage infrastructure, especially in rural areas.
  • Post-harvest losses: India experiences high post-harvest losses due to inefficient storage practices. Improper handling, lack of modern technologies, and limited access to storage facilities lead to spoilage, pest infestation, and deterioration of food quality.
  • Insufficient cold chain facilities: The absence of a well-developed cold chain infrastructure is a significant challenge for perishable commodities like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. A robust cold chain system is necessary to maintain the quality and extend the shelf life of these items.
  • Seasonal variations: India has distinct seasonal variations in food production, resulting in a surplus of certain crops during harvest seasons. However, the lack of proper storage and distribution channels leads to wastage and price fluctuations.
  • Poor transportation and logistics: Inadequate transportation infrastructure, including inadequate road networks and inefficient logistics systems, pose challenges in moving food efficiently from farms to storage facilities and distribution centers. This often leads to delays, increased costs, and spoilage.
  • Pests and rodents: Insects, rodents, and pests pose a constant threat to stored food. Without effective pest control measures and proper storage conditions, food can be damaged, leading to losses and quality degradation.
  • Limited financial resources: Many farmers and small-scale food businesses in India lack the financial resources to invest in modern storage technologies and facilities. This limits their ability to store food properly and efficiently.
  • Lack of awareness and training: There is a need for improved awareness and training among farmers, food producers, and stakeholders regarding proper storage techniques, pest management, and post-harvest handling practices.


Solutions for the challenges?

  • Improve storage infrastructure: The government and private sector can invest in building and upgrading storage infrastructure, including warehouses, cold storage facilities, and refrigeration units. This will enhance the capacity to store perishable and non-perishable food items.
  • Promote cold chain development: Developing a robust cold chain infrastructure is crucial for preserving the quality and extending the shelf life of perishable commodities. Investments should be made in establishing cold storage facilities, refrigerated transport, and other components of the cold chain to ensure proper temperature control from farm to fork.
  • Enhance post-harvest handling practices: Educating farmers and food producers on proper post-harvest handling techniques is essential. This includes training on grading, sorting, packaging, and storage practices to minimize losses and maintain food quality.
  • Strengthen transportation networks: Improving transportation infrastructure, including roads, rail networks, and logistics systems, will enable efficient movement of food from farms to storage facilities and distribution centers. This will reduce delays, minimize spoilage, and ensure timely delivery of food to the market.
  • Implement integrated pest management: Effective pest control measures should be adopted throughout the food storage chain. This includes regular monitoring, use of appropriate pesticides and repellents, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene, and employing pest management techniques to prevent infestation and damage to stored food.
  • Encourage private sector participation: The involvement of the private sector in food storage infrastructure development and management can bring in expertise, technology, and investments. Public-private partnerships can help bridge the gap between demand and supply of storage facilities.
  • Facilitate access to finance: Providing financial support, subsidies, and credit facilities to farmers, small-scale food businesses, and storage facility operators can help them invest in modern storage technologies and facilities. This will enable them to store food properly and efficiently.
  • Promote research and innovation: Continued research and innovation in food storage technologies, packaging materials, and preservation methods are essential. This can lead to the development of cost-effective and sustainable solutions tailored to Indian conditions.


Q.1 Which of the following statements regarding food storage in India is/are correct?

1.Inadequate infrastructure, including a shortage of storage facilities, is a significant challenge for food storage in India.

2.India has a well-developed cold chain infrastructure that ensures the proper preservation of perishable food items.

3.The lack of awareness and training among farmers and stakeholders is not a significant challenge in food storage practices.

Select the correct option:

(a)1 only

(b)1 and 2 only

(c)1,2 and 3 only

(d)None of the above


Q.2 Which of the following statements regarding the Public Distribution System (PDS) in India:

  1. A) The PDS aims to provide subsidized food grains to eligible beneficiaries.
  2. B) The distribution of food grains through the PDS is managed by the Central Government in collaboration with the State Governments.
  3. C) The PDS covers only rice and wheat, and does not include other essential commodities.
  4. D) The identification of eligible beneficiaries under the PDS is done through the Aadhaar-based biometric authentication system.

Select the option that represents the incorrect statement:

(a) A

(b) B

(c) C

(d) D


Q.3 “Discuss the challenges faced by India in ensuring efficient food storage and its impact on food security and agricultural development. Suggest measures to address these challenges and enhance food storage infrastructure in the country.”

Yojna ias daily current affairs eng med 1st June 2023

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