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Production, Procurement Of Coarse Cereals Must Be Increased In Planned Manner: Goyal

A maximum of six months' time is given to the states for procurement and distribution of coarse grains through the Public Distribution System (PDS)

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Food Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday emphasised the need to increase production and procurement of coarse cereals in a planned manner through incentives.

On Tuesday, the minister reviewed the policy frame work for procurement, distribution and disposal of coarse food grains, according to an official statement.

'Time has come to revise norms to incentivise the farming and distribution of coarse grains in India,' Goyal said.

Goyal, who is also Minister for Railways and Commerce & Industry, said that farming and procurement of coarse grains needs to be increased in a planned manner.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of Department of Food & Public Distribution and several departments under the agriculture ministry.

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there is a need to promote millets in the country. The UN General Assembly has also declared year 2023 as 'International Year of Millets'.

All types of millets, maize and barley are known as coarse grains.

Millets are grown on marginal and un-irrigated land and procurement will help in doubling farmers' income. Millets are also more nutritious and hence would help India fight against malnutrition, as per the statement.

According to Goyal, a revision in policy guidelines for procurement, distribution and disposal of coarse grains were required, adding that revised norms will result in encouraging procurement of these grains.

The major coarse grains crop covered under Minimum Support Price (MSP) are Jowar (Hybrid), Jowar (Maldandi), Bajra, Ragi, Maize and Barley.

Shelf life of some coarse grains is more than three months. These grains are procured by State Government Agencies/FCI from farmers as per extant guidelines.

A total of 11.62 lakh tonnes of coarse grains have been procured during 2020-21 (kharif marketing season).

As per the present guidelines for coarse grains, the procurement period given to the state governments should not go beyond three months. Also, it stipulates that procurement period should not be more than one month from the end of the normal period of harvesting of crop concerned in the state.

A maximum of six months' time is given to the states for procurement and distribution of coarse grains through the Public Distribution System (PDS), the statement said. 

(PTI)