The Food Corporation of India was set up to provide an effective price support to safeguard the interests of the farmers, along with providing for an effective distribution of food grains throughout the country and to maintain their buffer stocks. However, it continues to face problems such as poor storage facilities that results into wastage of food, etc.
The prime reason behind this is that the stored grains are not moved out of the warehouses in time, which results into its wastage or depreciation in quality. Due to this problem, every year a large quantity of food either goes waste or depreciate in quality. The FCI has a storage capacity of about 336.04 lac tonnes, which is grossly inadequate to store its total procurement of 667.89 lac tonnes (2011-12). To fulfill this gap, it relies on state government agencies. However, the matter doesn't improve much, as the crops continue to get damaged even under the custody of state government agencies.
Storing of food grains in open or the use of inadequate storage facility also results in wastage of food grains, as it happened in Bani Centre of Haryana Warehousing Corporation where during the period 2008-11, 5128.45 tonnes of wheat were damaged because of floods. This shows that state's storage capacity of 84 lakh metric tonnes is highly inadequate to meet its food grains storage needs.
Haryana is primarily an agrarian state that has a large population engaged in agriculture. However, Haryana Warehousing Corporation services are still not available at all the mandis of the state. Also its storage capacity is inadequate to meet the state's demand for storing food grains.
The state still faces the post harvest losses on account of poor storage facilities, which are further marred by problems of pests and ineffectiveness of staff.
Although, Haryana Warehousing Corporation operates 108 warehouses in the state, it continues to face problems of non availability of adequate food storage space. Local farmers are forced to store their farm produce in an unscientific way such as storing them in open or on roads, which results in their damage. This leads to loss of crores of rupees every year. Another problem that it faces is of not being able to make space for the new procurement. The old stock should either be taken out in time or should be moved to other godowns lying vacant within or outside the state.
The loss also occurs on account of inefficient staff that is not properly trained to maintain the stocks and warehouse. They should be well trained so that they become more productive and make minimal errors. The management of the warehouse can also be handed over to a specialised agency in order to reduce the wastage and mishandling of goods by the inefficient staff.
The aim of the government should not be only to maximise the storage space but also to minimise the loss occurring due to insufficient transport and distribution system. Even greater requirement is to make the effective use of already available storage space.