New Delhi: India does not have enough surplus stocks of foodgrains for exports in the short-term and the country needs to boost its farm production significantly, to meet the expected rise in domestic demand by 2020, a top official of Food Corporation of India (FCI) said on Wednesday.
“The country has adequate stock of foodgrains to meet our needs there is not much surplus availability of the food grains for export in the short-term,” Food Corporation of India chairman and managing director Siraj Hussain said while addressing a conference on ‘Food Inflation, Security and Price Outlook´.
The government had banned wheat exports in February 2007 and shipments of non-basmati rice in April 2008 to control inflation.
“It’s only when the country meets the requirements of two consecutive years of droughts, then only we can say there is sufficient foodgrain surplus,” Hussain noted.
FCI CMD said foodgrains output needs to be enhanced to ensure the country’s food security in the long term. Similarily, the level of procurement of wheat and rice should be raised to meet the requirement of ration shops.
Stating that there would not be any difficulty in meeting the challenge of foodgrains in short-term of say five years, Hussain said that for long-term, farm production has to be increased substantially.
“By 2020, the demand of foodgrains in the country is likely to go up by 35-40 million tonnes to the level of 250-260 million tonnes,” he said.
In 2009-10 crop year, the country foodgrains production declined to 218.2 million tonnes from a record 233.47 million tonnes in the previous year.
In the next five years, procurement has to increase by roughly 10 million tonnes from 60 million tonnes at present to 70 million tonnes, Hussain said, adding that states have to increase quantum of procurement to achieve this.
There is scope to increase procurement of wheat in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and West Bengal and paddy in Bihar, West Bengal and North-Eastern states, he said.
The FCI CMD said efforts are on to increase storage capacity in the country by 15 million tonnes mostly in private sector in near future to take the total capacity to around 58 million tonnes.
“Process of tenders (for creation of additional storage capacity) is on and in next 1-2 months the work will start in different states,” he said.
Hussain said after addition of storage capacity there would be vacancy in many storehouses, due to greater offtake of foodgrains after the implementation of the proposed Food Security Law.