India’s Bold Grain Storage Strategy

  • With a population of 1.4 billion, India faces the problem of guaranteeing food security for its residents.
  • To address this issue, the Centre has authorised the formation of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to aid in the implementation of the “world’s largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector.”
  • This article examines the plan’s primary components and their likely influence on food security in India.

Need for Grain Storage Network

(1) Population vs. Arable Land

  • India’s 18% global population requires extensive food-grain storage facilities.

(2) Current Storage Gap

  • India’s 145 MMT foodgrain storage capacity faces 166 MMT storage gap, causing damage due to inadequate facilities.

(3) Global Storage Capacities

  • Countries like China, USA, Brazil, Russia, Argentina, Ukraine, France, and Canada have better storage capacities than foodgrain production.

(4) Regional Disparities in India

  • India’s storage capacity varies across regions, with southern states having higher capacities.

Understanding the ‘World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan’

(1) Role of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS)

  • Ministry of Cooperation plans to establish integrated grain storage facilities using PACS, leveraging existing network with over 10,00,000 societies and 13 crore farmers.

(2) IMC Composition

  • IMC, chaired by Cooperation Minister, will modify guidelines and implementation methodologies for storage plans.

(3) Budgetary Allocation

  • Implementation of plan involves combining 8 existing schemes, eliminating separate allocations, under Agriculture, Food Processing Industries, and Consumer Affairs.

Grain Storage Plan Advantages

(1) Multi-Purpose Benefits:

  • The plan aims to establish godowns at the PACS level, enabling them to serve multiple functions:
  • Procurement centres for state agencies and Food Corporation of India (FCI)
  • Fair Price Shops (FPS)
  • Custom hiring centres
  • Common processing units for agricultural produce

(2) Other benefits

  • Post-harvest losses are being reduced.
  • Foodgrain handling and shipping costs have been reduced.
  • Farmers’ market flexibility has improved, and distress sales have decreased.

Key issues addressed

  • Infrastructure Address: By establishing godowns at the PACS level, India’s foodgrain storage capacity will be increased by 700 lakh tonnes.
  • Diversification of PACS: PACS will be empowered to engage in a variety of activities such as procurement centres, fair pricing stores, and the establishment of custom hiring centres, thereby increasing farmer income.
  • Food Grain Wastage Reduced: Decentralised storage at the PACS level will reduce grain wastage, contributing to enhanced food security.
  • Farmers can store their food in PACS facilities and obtain loans of up to 70%, preventing distress sales and enabling better prices.
  • Cost Savings: Local storage facilities will greatly reduce food grain transportation costs to procurement centres and fair-priced retailers.

Design and Features of Integrated Storage Facilities

(1) Facility Layout

  • Modular PACS on 1 acre features hiring center, multi-purpose hall, processing units, storage sheds, and container storage.

(2) Financing and Capacity:

  • The facility costs Rs 2.25 crore, with a 51 lakh subsidy and remaining amount as margin money or loan. The PACS model will generate Rs 45 lakh annually, with 63,000 PACS serving as spokes and hubs.

(3) Technological Advancements:

  • Modern silos with real-time monitoring systems available for FCI and private agencies.


India’s cooperative sector grain storage plan, facilitated by IMC, aims to bridge storage gaps and ensure food security for its billion-plus population. Implementing integrated storage model and reducing losses, transportation costs, and distress sales.

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