Rama Krishna Sangem
Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 31, Wednesday, took a decision to enhance food grains storage facility to cooperative societies in the country. The Centre will introduce a policy for the world’s largest food grain storage scheme under the cooperative societies sector, said Union Information and Broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur during a Cabinet briefing later on Wednesday.
It has been announced that the government will allocate approximately Rs 1 lakh crore towards it. Under this plan, every block will have a godown with a capacity of 2,000 tonnes. An inter-ministerial committee has also been formed to oversee this, Thakur said. This is part of a plan to expand the country’s foodgrain storage facilities, which will help the cooperative sector, he said.
India currently has a storage capacity of 1.450 million tonnes. The cooperatives will add 70 million tonnes of capacity under the new scheme. This will improve food security in India, as well as help farmers get better prices for their products. Farmers had previously had to sell their wares in a hurry due to climate-related vagaries, he added. India has 65,000 agricultural cooperative societies.
The new initiative will benefit both agricultural societies and farmers, as well as consumers. Farmers will be able to obtain up to 70 per cent of loans from these societies in addition to storing their produce in the facilities, the Union minister said. Thakur further said this will result in significant savings in transportation costs.
Storage of food grains is one of the problems faced by farmers across the country for over a period of time. Lack of proper storage forces farmers to sell in distress their produce in the open markets. Adequate storage will not only ensure good prices for the produce, but also solve the food shortage problem, faced for certain schemes for the below the poverty line people in the contry.