Extra storage capacity needed to ensure food security: Pawar

New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Tuesday said India needs to create 140 million tonnes of extra storage capacity and it is one of the major challenges before the government, which has pledged to enact a food security law.

Inaugurating the state food secretaries’ meet on streamlining the public distribution system (PDS) here, he said the government will have to spend Rs.4,000 crore to fill the ‘storage gap’.

He said the Food Corporation of India will hire warehouses from private trading companies to store record volumes of rice and wheat procured from farmers.

Pawar also said another major challenge is sustaining the level of production and procurement of food grains for the future.

The conference assumes significance as the government is working on ensuring food security across the country. The National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Sonia Gandhi, which is reworking the draft food security bill, will meet here Wednesday and give its recommendations on widening the content and target of the proposed legislation.

Working groups earlier held separate discussions on various issues to make use of the best practices in PDS and achieve their universal adoption.

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