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May 2024

FCI’s open market sales helped moderate wheat, rice, prices: Goyal

India’s self-sufficiency in food is one of the “greatest achievements in human history”, said Goyal

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Textiles Piyush Goyal. (Photo: PTI)

NEW DELHI : Open market sales have proven to be an effective tool for moderating rice and wheat prices, said union consumer affairs, food and public distribution minister Piyush Goyal, adding that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) should emerge as a trusted partner of farmers and the public.

“The FCI’s market interventions or open market sale scheme (OMSS) has proved to be an effective tool in moderating the prices of essential commodities like wheat and rice to benefit consumers. Bharat Atta, Bharat Dal and interventions regarding onion and tomato have assisted the government of India in price stabilization,” Goyal said on Sunday lauding the role of the agency on its 60th founding anniversary.

The FCI plays a crucial role in facilitating the Centre’s flagship schemes like Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) by providing subsidized food to beneficiaries. India’s self-sufficiency in food, which ensures no citizen in the world’s most populous country goes hungry, is one of the “greatest achievements in human history”, Goyal said.

The FCI has been critical to maintaining the country’s food security, as it buys millions of tonnes of agricultural produce from farmers at federally fixed minimum support prices (MSP), a floor price to help avoid distress sales by agriculturists and a process known as procurement. It then redistributes the food to 800 million poor people free of cost under the National Food Security Act.

In 2022-23, the FCI bought 76.56 million tonnes of paddy and 26.2 million tonnes of wheat from about 12.3 million growers, paying them ₹2.19 trillion in all, according to official data. The total cost is accounted for as the government’s food subsidy bill.

Goyal, however, emphasized that the role of FCI is not only to deliver subsidized food but also to instill confidence in farmers and beneficiaries by bringing transparency, efficiency and accountability.

FCI has provided fair value for farmers’ produce and ensured no farmer should take up distress sale and the corporation should emerge as a trusted partner of farmers and people in the country.

The minister said the FCI should continue to work to strengthen dialogue with the farmers. He said it has entered the modern era of operations, adopting digitization, streamlining the procurement process, setting up state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, and streamlining food grains procurement. QR Code

Published Date: January 14, 2024

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