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World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector

 

 General Studies 3

 Syllabus: Agriculture – Cooperative Societies

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The Union Cabinet approved the constitution and empowerment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for the facilitation of the “world’s largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector” by the convergence of various schemes of the Ministries of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Food Processing Industries.

Implementation The Ministry of Cooperation will implement a pilot project in at least 10 districts to gather regional insights for nationwide implementation. An IMC will modify guidelines and implementation methodologies for creating infrastructure at Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) using available schemes.
Schemes for Convergence Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare

 

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure Scheme, Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization.
Ministry of Food Processing Industries Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana.
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 The plan aims to address the agricultural storage infrastructure shortage and enable PACS to function as procurement centres, fair price shops, custom hiring centres, and processing units.

It will reduce food grain wastage, enhance food security, prevent distress sales, reduce transportation costs, and strengthen PACS.

Implementation Timeline National Level Coordination Committee was formed within one week of approval. Implementation guidelines are issued within 15 days of approval.

Portal for PACS linkage rolled out within 45 days of approval.

Implementation starts within 45 days of approval.

 

Challenges Associated with Food Grain Storage in India:

Examples
Insufficient storage facilities Lack of proper warehouses and godowns at the farm level, leading to the damage of grains by pests and insects.

For example, due to limited storage options, farmers may resort to storing grains in substandard structures or open spaces, making them vulnerable to infestations and spoilage.

Inadequate infrastructure Inefficient storage structures that are unsuitable for long-term grain storage, lead to spoilage and quality degradation. For instance, traditional storage structures like mud bins or jute bags may lack proper ventilation and insulation, causing moisture buildup and mould formation.
Poor maintenance An example would be the lack of regular cleaning, pest control measures, and repairs, leading to structural weaknesses and pest infestations.
Technological gaps Lack of advanced technologies for storage, such as moisture control systems and temperature regulation, which are essential for maintaining grain quality. For instance, the absence of proper moisture control systems can result in the growth of moulds, fungi, and aflatoxins, adversely affecting the quality of stored grains.
Inefficient logistics The lack of well-established transportation networks resulted in prolonged transit times and exposure to unfavourable environmental conditions.
Inadequate pest control The absence of effective pest control methods like fumigation or the use of insecticides can lead to significant grain damage and quality deterioration.
Inadequate funding Limited financial resources are allocated for the construction, maintenance, and modernization of storage infrastructure, hindering the improvement of storage facilities. This can result in a lack of funds for necessary repairs, upgrades, and expansion of storage infrastructure, exacerbating the existing challenges.

 

Conclusion:

The government’s initiative to establish a six-member committee, chaired by Shanta Kumar, aimed to provide recommendations for rationalizing the storage, procurement, and distribution of crops. The committee’s recommendations have the potential to drive positive changes and optimize the overall agricultural supply chain in the country.

 

About Ministry of Cooperation:

A separate ‘Ministry of Co-operation’ was created by the Central Government for realizing the vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’ (Prosperity through Cooperation) and to give a new push to the cooperative movement.

Significance of Ministry of Co-operation:

  • It will provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement in the country.
  • It will help deepen Co-operatives as a true people-based movementreaching up to the grassroots.

 

Insta Links:

Ministry Of Cooperation