INDIA- The Food Corporation of India (FCI) India, a statutory body under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, is taking significant steps to enhance its grain storage capacity, aiming to combat post-harvest waste and address the issue of rising food prices. 

To achieve this goal, the FCI plans to complete the construction of several wheat silos with a capacity of 3 million tonnes across the country by November, as reported by the Financial Express.

As the world’s second-largest producer of wheat and rice, India has temporarily halted grain exports to manage its food supply. The need for modern grain storage facilities is crucial in order to reduce wastage after harvest. 

The FCI has already completed the construction of 1-million-ton and 2-million-ton silos. As part of this expansion project, the FCI aims to construct wheat silos with a total capacity of 9.4 million tonnes over the next three to four years at 196 locations nationwide, as outlined in the report by Financial Express.

The Union Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, approved the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on May 31st to facilitate the implementation of the “World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in the Cooperative Sector” program. 

This program encompasses various agricultural infrastructure setups, including warehouses, custom hiring centers, and processing units at the level of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), transforming them into versatile entities.

Financing for the grain storage expansion project has been secured through a public-private partnership, estimated at around US$1.3 billion, according to the Financial Express report. 

Private entities such as Adani Agri Logistics and KCC Infrastructure have been granted contracts for the construction, as sources have informed the newspaper.

Under the National Food Security Act, the FCI stores 40 to 50 million tonnes of rice and wheat. However, India’s current storage capacity accounts for only 47% of its total grain output, despite recently surpassing China as the world’s most populous country, with a population of 1.4 billion people, according to the Indian government.

The government has managed to save over four times more food grains stored in granaries across the country, according to a  Right to Information (RTI) report. According to the report, the wastage of food grains, largely due to rain, was reduced more than four times from 2018 to 2023.

To stop the wastage of food grains, the central government adopted a FIFO (first in first out) policy during the tenure of former food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

The FIFO policy helped in increasing the shelf life of the food grains stored at FCI granaries across the country.