Uttar Pradesh ended its Rabi season on a high note by procuring 36 lakh metric tonne of wheat, which is almost 4.5 times more than last year’s 8 lakh tonne, and that too, without the aid of the ‘arathiya’ system (commissioning agents). According to officials in the food and civil supplies department, the increased procurement has benefited 7,67,380 farmers.
Buoyed by the good procurement record this season, UP has already started planning big for the coming years and has stepped up efforts to add grain storage capacity by constructing modern steel silos which would increase the shelf-life of the grain and also minimise losses.
According to the food ministry’s detailed action plan, modern storage capacity of 12 lakh metric tonne would be completed by 2019-20. While the Food Corporation of India would construct a total of 7 lakh metric tonne of capacity spread over two phases, the state government would increase another 5 lakh metric tonne capacity by 2019-20.
Speaking to FE, a senior official of the FCI said that hectic efforts are on to get the work completed on time. In the first phase, we plan to add 3.5 lakh metric tonnes storage in seven locations in UP by 2017-18 season. Three private companies have been awarded the task for constructing these silos, each of which would hold 50,000 metric tonne. These locations are in Basti, Deoria, Faizabad, Varanasi, Fatehpur, Kannauj, and Moradabad. While National Collateral Management Services Ltd have been awarded work for the silo construction in four locations — Basti, Deoria, Faizabad and Varanasi— Om Metals Infraprojects Ltd has bagged tender for Fatehpur and Adani Enterprises has been awarded the tender for the one in Kannauj.
“Work in all these six locations has already been awarded and land inspections are going on, while the tender for the 7th location in Moradabad silo is under process and should be finalise within a month. We expect these 7 silos to be ready in time before the next Rabi season,” said the FCI official.
Similarly, under the second phase (2018-19), FCI is planning another 3.5 lakh metric tonne capacity addition, for which already-existing, but end-of-life conventional godowns have been identified . “SREI is the consultant for this project. It has done a feasibility study on the probable locations and the high level committee (HLC) under the food ministry has finally approved the locations on May 30. These locations are Agra, Hapur, Gorakhpur, Aligarh, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Lucknow.
Apart from Jaunpur, which will have a silo of 1 lakh metric tonne capacity, all the other godowns at these locations would build steel silos of 50,000 metric tonne each. These godowns would be partly demolished and some spare land under their possession would be used for the purpose of constructing the steel silos,” informed the official.
For the third phase of the project, too, the state government agencies have already started work on identifying 10 locations for it. Speaking to FE, Uttar Pradesh food commissioner Ajay Chauhan said that while two locations have already been identified in Sahahjahanpur and Pilibhit, work is on for the remaining ones. “Two locations have already been finalsised and for the rest 8 locations, we are working closely with FCI in doing the crucial gap analysis and viability study. Hopefully that should be completed in a month or so, after which we would start work on awarding the tenders,” he said.
You may also like to watch this video
At present, UP has a grain storage capacity of 40 lakh metric tonnes. Once this additional capacity is in place, it would provide a sea change in the grain storage and distribution dynamics as it would go a long way in making the country’s most populous state more or less capable of meeting its requirement for implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) from its own purchases. At present, the state’s annual PDS demand for wheat is 6 million tonnes. If Uttar Pradesh is able to scale up its wheat procurement in the coming years, these silos would go a long way in that direction.
This year, Uttar Pradesh produced 300 lakh metric tonne wheat, out of which the FCI and state government agencies have procured 36 lakh metric tonne. The rest is sold by the farmers in the open market and also stored for their own consumption. In the absence of proper procurement by government agencies and FCI, farmers usually sell their produce in the open market through the arthiyas, who pay them much less than the MSP.