Indian government approves grain storage scheme for co-operatives

The project, involving several government departments, aims to create the world’s largest grain storage plan

The Indian government is investing Rs1 tn into a new food grain storage scheme for co-operatives, Union minister Anurag Thakur confirmed during a cabinet briefing on 30 May.

The initiative is part of the government’s plan to expand the country’s food-grain storage facilities of 1.450 lakh tonnes by an additional 700 lakh tonnes over the next five years.

The project will see the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries work together. An inter-ministerial committee has also been set up to facilitate the implementation of the scheme, which the government described as “the world’s largest grain storage plan in [the] co-operative sector”.

Meanwhile, the newly formed Ministry of Cooperation will implement a pilot project in 10 selected districts around the country. The government expects the pilot to provide valuable insights into the various regional requirements of the project, which will be incorporated into the country-wide implementation.

According to the government’s Press Information Bureau, India is home to 100,000 primary agricultural credit societies. The plan entails setting up various types of agri-infrastructure, including warehouses, custom hiring centres and processing units, at primary agricultural credit societies level to transforming these into multipurpose societies.

The government expects the creation and modernisation of the infrastructure at the level of PACS to reduce food grain wastage by creating sufficient storage capacity, strengthening food security and enabling farmers to realise better prices for their crops.