'40 percent of foodgrains wasted every year due to lack of storage'
By Express News Service | Published: 08th September 2013 10:16 AM |
State government’s chief secretary S V Ranganath said that the lack of storage space for foodgrains is one of the hurdles faced by the Union government to realise its plans of the National Food Security Bill (NFSB).
He was speaking at a one-day seminar on ‘Food Security in India- Issues and Suggestions for Effectiveness’, organised by the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore, and Indian Institute of Public Administration.
“Of the 260 million tonnes of foodgrains produced each year, 40 per cent goes waste as there is no storage space. The leakage of foodgrain has to be stopped and we have to monitor these procedures using information technology,” he said.
Ranganath expressed doubts whether the subsidy of Rs 25,000 crore towards the NFSB is affordable.
He also said that the existing public distribution system (PDS) has to be improved. “Nearly half (43 per cent) of Indian children are underweight, 70 per cent of infants aged between six and 36 months are anaemic,” Ranganath said.
He said the adoption of the Food Security Bill may be a landmark due to the overwhelming support it received in Parliament. But it has a long way to go before it becomes a turning point of a country struggling to minimise the gap between unequal developments.
He said that agriculture and food production methods must be improved. “There has to be a paradigm shift in governance to tackle the challenges posed by the Food Security Bill. It calls for transparency in administration while the other major problem in execution is corruption,” Ranganath remarked.
UAS vice-chancellor Dr K Narayana Gowda said that farmers must form their own associations and organise businesses to bring down the overall cost of agriculture and increase productivity.
“Farming, as a profession, is not lucrative enough to attract the new generation. Special attention has to be given to this field. We need to build the confidence among the farmers and enforce an integrated approach to farming, which can help them sustain productivity (of the foodgrains) even under adverse conditions,” Gowda said.