`Poor storage facilities leading to food wastage`

Lack of adequate or proper storage facilities is resulting in rotting of foodgrains, Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar said on Saturday.

Updated: May 08, 2010, 17:48 PM IST

Mumbai: Lack of adequate or proper storage
facilities is resulting in rotting of foodgrains, Agriculture
and Food Minister Sharad Pawar said on Saturday.

"The condition of the godowns in the country is not good
and that is resulting in the rotting of foodgrains," he said,
speaking at a function here.
The government has acknowledged that the country wastes
Rs 58,000 crore worth of food items every year due to lack of
or poor storage facilities.

Pawar admitted that the government (FCI) godowns were
packed to capacity and the big question was how to accommodate
the promised bumper rabi (winter) harvest.

The rabi crop has already begun arriving at the markets.

Pawar`s statement comes after repeated accusations
from the Opposition over poor and unhygienic maintenance of
wheat in Food Corporation of India godowns.
"As the Food Minister of the country, my biggest concern
is about the food stocks. TV channels have shown footage of
how foodgrains are rotting in the godowns," he said.

"The godowns of FCI are 92 to 93 per cent full. Also,
there is an expectation of a good produce this year. There
will be now question on how to store the foodgrains," Pawar
said, adding the government was "planning to hire godowns for
seven years.

Storage or no storage, the government will pay for
the godowns for seven years," he added.

PTI