Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution (DFPD), Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution, Sudhanshu Pandey, chaired a meeting of state food secretaries and Food Corporation of India (FCI) to discuss the procurement arrangements for Kharif crops ensuing Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2022-23, in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The meeting was attended by principal secretaries, secretaries (food) or representatives from Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. The meeting was also attended by Chairman & Managing Director, FCI and other officers of FCI, Department of Food & Public Distribution, Indian Metrological Department and Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India.
A quantity of 518 LMT rice has been estimated for procurement during the forthcoming KMS 2022-23 (Kharif crops) as against 509.82 LMT actually procured during the last Kharif Marketing Season 2021-22 (Kharif crops).
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During the meeting, issues relating to the adoption of mechanised procurement operations, borrowing at lower interest rate, reduction in cost of procurement operations, adoption of innovative techniques and quality control mechanisms, promotion of millets, gunny bag requirements, online settlement of food subsidy claims among other issues were discussed and it was suggested that such innovations should be incentivised.
Pandey said that the focus should be on the procurement of millets, not only on account of International Year of Millets-2023 but also because of climate changes. Climate changes have been adversely affecting wheat and rice and resulting in a reduction in their production. A quantity of 13.70 LMT coarse grains ”superfood” has been proposed for procurement by the states during the forthcoming KMS 2022-23 as against the actual procurement of 6.30 LMT as of date.
Secretary, DFPD, highlighted the problem of shortage of packaging material. It was stated that arranging packaging material has become a challenging task as only 50 per cent of the requirement of could be arranged through jute mills. To address the problem, DFPD is exploring possibilities of increasing the production and availability of new jute bags by ways of testing new technology- Smart Jute Bags (SJB). As per report, trials have been found successful and these are at final stage.