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Crop Storage

Three public sector agencies are involved in building large-scale storage and warehousing capacities in the country. These are the Food Corporation of India (FCI) - External website that opens in a new window, Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) - External website that opens in a new window and 17 State Warehousing Corporations (SWCs). While the FCI uses its warehouses mainly for storing food grains, the storage capacities with CWC and SWCs are used for the storage of food grains as well as other items. Here is a list of the storage capacity available with different states (External website that opens in a new window).

Uses of Warehouses:

  • Scientific storage of produce from the vagaries of weather, rodents, insects and pests. They prevent quality and quantity losses.
  • Meeting the financial needs of people who store the produce by providing value for the goods stored.
  • Regulating price levels by regulating the supply of goods in the markets. More goods from the buffer are released when supplies are less and less is released when supplies are more in the markets.
  • Offering market intelligence in the form of price, supply and demand information so that market users may develop selling and buying strategies.

The FCI has the largest agricultural warehousing systems with over 24.33 million tonnes of storage capacity in over 1451 godowns located all over India. This includes owned as well as hired warehouses.

The CWC was founded in 1957 to provide logistics support to the agricultural sector. Currently, it operates around 514 warehouses across the country with a storage capacity of 10.27 million tonnes. Other than storage and handling, CWC also offers services such as disinfestations, pest control, fumigation, clearing and forwarding, handling and transportation, procurement and distribution.

State Warehousing Corporations exist in 17 States to provide storage facilities and pest control services for various agricultural commodities belonging to farmers of that State. These warehouses work under different Warehousing Acts enacted by the respective State Governments. Here are links to warehousing corporations in some States:

Cold storages

Availability of proper cold storages are important for preserving perishable commodities like milk, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, ornamental flowers and other floricultural goods. These cold storages give perishable food items a longer shelf life by preventing them from rotting due to humidity, high temperature and micro-organisms. This results in a decrease in loss due to spoilage.

Different products are stored at different temperatures. Flowers will remain fresh even in a moderately cool chiller whereas a product like meat needs to be deep frozen to prevent it from turning rancid. The government trains managers and operators of cold storages to store products at the optimum temperature, maintain machinery, hygiene and administration.

The Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (External website that opens in a new window) of the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation (External website that opens in a new window) provides consultancy and technical services to prospective entrepreneurs for the construction, maintenance and operation of cold storages. Other activities that the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection is involved in are preparation of a master plan for cold storage requirements at micro/macro levels, conducting seminars, problem oriented studies and coordinating research in cold storage.

Every farmer who wants to make the most of his perishable produce should think of investing in good quality cold storage machinery or using the facilities of a cold storage nearby. Here is a list of cold storages in India (External website that opens in a new window).

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on:20-02-2011