India to set up 2 mn rice reserve

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New Delhi, Sep 12 (UNI) The government plans to create a two million tonne rice reserve, agiculture minister Sharad Pawar announced today.

The country has already created a 3 million tonne emergency reserve of wheat.

Stating that stocks of primary commodities are at their highest level, Mr Pawar, speaking at Warehousing 2008, said government agencies have procured 22.5 million tonnes of wheat this year, more than double the procurement done last year. He said over 27.4 million tonnes of rice was proucured in this marketing season as compared to 24.96 million tonnes last year.

The Minister said steps taken for enhancing foodgrain production, procurement and creation of food reserve will have immense impact on demand-supply scenario.

He said recent enactment of Warehousing Act will help farmers by promoting storage facilities and protecting them against distress sale.

The introduction of negotiable warehouse receipts and setting up of regulator, Warehousing Development&Regulatory Authority, Mr Pawar said, will bring about many positive changes in the warehousing sector. The receipts will enable farmers to obtain short-term loans to hedge against immediate or distress sale of their produce.

Minister of State for Food and Public Distribution Akhilesh Prasad Singh also addressed the conference.

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