The Food Corporation of India (FCI) on Wednesday said it will create additional capacity to store 127.64 lakh tonnes of foodgrains over the next 18 months in order to ease storage problems.
"The FCI proposes to create 127.64 lakh tonnes of covered capacity through private participation in 18 months," FCI Chairman and Managing Director Siraj Hussain said at a press conference in New Delhi.
During the last two procurement seasons, there has been a substantial increase in foodgrains procurement, leading to a storage crunch, Hussain said. As such, FCI wants to create more storage space to address future needs.
FCI is the government's nodal agency for foodgrains procurement and distribution.
As on April 1, India's foodgrains storage capacity stood at 474 lakh tonnes, of which FCI's capacity accounted for 284.56 lakh tonnes, while state-owned storage facilities made up the remaining capacity.
"The current available space is higher than the foodgrains stock of 428.38 lakh tonnes. However, FCI is taking steps to increase storage capacity," said Hussain.
Under the plan, FCI will create space to store as much as 71 lakh tonnes of foodgrains in Punjab, 39 lakh tonnes in Haryana and another 17 lakh tonnes in states like Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir.
The additional storage capacity will be created under the PEG-2008 scheme, which allows the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and the State Warehousing Corporations (SWCs) to construct godowns through private parties, for which the FCI will extend a seven-year guarantee, he said.
"The additional storage capacity needs to be ramped up by the State Warehousing Corporations, as the states undertake more than 80 per cent of the foodgrains procurement for the Centre," he pointed out.
The FCI is expected to procure 262.67 lakh tonnes of wheat in the 2010-11 season (April-September), compared to 253.82 lakh tonnes in the last season. Rice procurement during the 2009-10 season, which ends in September, stands at 255 lakh tonnes.