India aims to raise grains warehousing capacity about 10 per cent by March 2012, as it tries to ensure its record 65 million tonnes of stocks do not rot.
Warehouses in India, the world’s second-biggest rice and wheat producer, are overflowing after five bumper harvests and some grains are stored under tarpaulin, risking decay.
But the government has only allowed limited exports as it waits to see what quantities will be needed for its plans to increase subsidized sales in the country, where an estimated 500 million people live in poverty.
On June 1, India’s grain stocks touched a record high of 65.60 million tonnes – 27.64 million tonnes of rice and 37.83 million tonnes of wheat – against a combined storage space of 63 million tonnes.
Grains output in 2010/11 was another record for India, and the current crop year should see total grains production again at a new high of 245 million tonnes.
Stung by the shortage of grain bins, the government recently allowed exports of one million tonnes of non-basmati rice and an unspecified amount of wheat, easing a ban clamped down since 2007.
But wheat shipments seem improbable as global prices have slipped to unattractive levels.