In light of the highest ever procurement of wheat, the Ministry of Food has taken several measures for storage and speedy movement of foodgrains from procuring states to consuming states. This include increase utilization of existing storage capacity, creation of additional capacity, evacuation plan for vulnerable stocks and monitoring movement on daily basis. This was announced by Union Food Minister Prof KV Thomas, while addressing a Press conference on 21JUN12.
He said record production of foodgrains and increase of MSP along with better outreach for the procurement operations have resulted in highest ever procurement of foodgrains this year. The Central Pool stocks as on 1.6.2012 was 823.17 LMT consisting of 501.69 LMT wheat and 321.48 LMT rice.
The Minister informed that central pool stocks of foodgrains are stored both by FCI and State Government and their agencies. Over the last five years, the storage capacity of FCI has increased from 238.94 LMT (as on 31.03.2008) to 336.04 LMT (as on 31.03.2012). This is an increase of about 40%.
Wheat is stored both in covered and CAP and Katcha CAP storage of FCI and State Governments and their agencies. As on 1.6.2012, a quantity of 273.96 LMT wheat was in open storage both in scientific CAP (207.79 LMT) and kutcha (66.17 LMT).
As observed above, 87% of the total wheat stocks in the central pool is in covered and CAP storage and can be considered “safe storage”, whereas 13% balance is at a high risk since it is stored in “Katcha” (Hindi for raw, translated as “open”) places. Out of the Total stocks stored in katcha complexes, 65.66 LMT are stored in Punjab, Haryana, MP and Rajasthan. (This may suggest higher risks to the NCR area.)
Perhaps it’s time to get America to buy some of that excess for Afghanistan? Or perhaps India can add additional wheat to its usual shipment to Afghanistan this year?