Food and Public Distribution Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey has emphasised on setting up fortified rice manufacturing plants, especially in and around paddy procuring districts of Gondia, Bhandara and Chandrapur in Maharashtra.
“There should be an impetus to setting up fortified rice manufacturing plants, especially in and around paddy procurement districts as the union government has chalked out a plan for issuing fortified rice through PDS (public distribution system) in future as announced by the Prime Minister),” Pandey said on Saturday, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution (MoCAF&PD) on Sunday.
Pandey was speaking during his visit to eastern Maharashtra after inspecting the paddy procurement centre at Kardha in Bhandara district to oversee the paddy procurement being done in the state.
He emphasised on promoting solvent extraction plants for manufacturing Rice Bran Oil in the procuring districts and also suggested putting up grain-based distilleries for the production of ethanol and thereby promoting Maize cultivation.
The Food Secretary advised the government of Maharashtra to work on crop diversification, especially the production of millets as the year 2023 is being declared as the ‘International Year of Millets’ by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the release said.
Senior officers of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), Maharashtra government, and procuring agencies accompanied him during this visit. Although he was satisfied with the procurement operations, Pandey advised the state government authorities to improve upon the infrastructure at the procurement centres.
He also interacted with the farmers at the centre and encouraged them to avail the benefits of various schemes of the union government. It was also informed that a new testing method for rice has been introduced by the union government to know the age of the rice, which would encourage paddy procurement and help the farmers.
The secretary also visited a Fair Price Shop (FPS) at Kardha in Bhandara district, where he interacted with FPS owner and some PDS beneficiaries. He expressed satisfaction over the system of issuing grains under NFSA (National Food Security Act) and PM-GKAY (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana).
General Manager, FCI Maharashtra, M S Sarang briefed about the FCI operations in the state and various issues related to procurement, storage and distribution of food grains in the state were discussed, the statement added.