India plans 5 million tonne strategic foodgrain reserve

The government proposes to create a strategic reserve of five million tonnes of foodgrains out of the domestic procurement, in addition to the buffer stock already held by the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

India achieved record production and procurement of wheat in the year 2009 although the production of kharif rice in the year 2009 declined due to delayed and deficient rainfall, an official release said.

"A record procurement of rice in kharif marketing season 2007-08 and 2008-09 for the central pool and an estimated procurement of 26 million tonnes in the 2009-10 kharif marketing season have ensured sufficient stocks in the central pool for meeting the full requirements of the public distribution system as well as for maintaining our buffer stocks," the release said.

During the 2008-09 kharif marketing season ended September 2009, state agencies procured over 3.36 million tonnes of rice. The procurement of rice during the current crop year till mid-December was 13.74 million tonnes as against 13.41 million tonnes for the same period last year.

An all-time record procurement of 25.38 million tonnes of wheat during rabi marketing season 2009-10 helped to maintain comfortable foodgrain stocks with government agencies, the release said, adding that this would also help the government intervene in the market to keep the prices at reasonable levels.

The central pool has a stock of 25.2 million tonnes of wheat and a rice stock of 22.9 million tones as of 1 December 2009. With an estimated procurement of 26 million tonnes of rice in kharif marketing season 2009-10 and the present level of stocks, the requirement of targeted public distribution and other welfare schemes at current level of allocations will be comfortably met, the release said.