Improved storage facilities to help ensure food security, quality

March 22, 2023

Arooj Zulfiqar

Pakistan needs to invest in improving its grain storage facilities to ensure food security and quality, said Nadeem ul Haq, Vice Chancellor of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE). “In recent years, Pakistan has experienced various challenges, including climate change, natural disasters, and economic downturns, which have significantly impacted the country's food systems. Improving grain storage facilities can help mitigate some of these challenges and strengthen the country's food systems.”

He said, “Grain storage facilities play a crucial role in ensuring food security. They help reduce post-harvest losses, maintain grain quality and ensure a steady supply of food throughout the year. However, Pakistan's current grain storage facilities are inadequate and outdated, leading to significant post-harvest losses, which reduce food availability and drive up food prices.”

“To address this issue, we must invest in modern and efficient grain storage facilities. New facilities should be designed to reduce post-harvest losses by providing adequate protection against pests, rodents, and moisture, which are the major causes of grain spoilage. Additionally, the facilities should have sufficient capacity to store enough grain to meet the country's food requirements and prevent shortages during the times of need.”

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Pakistan ranks 63rd in food loss. “Farmers who produce grams don't have much access to resources. For example, if there is an excess of produce, they are unable to store it and are forced to sell it at a loss to local traders. In order to solve this issue, the government should offer simple incentives to the farmers for using storage facilities on a big scale.”

“With improved storage facilities, the farmers can store their grain for longer periods, allowing them to sell their products at a better price when the market conditions are favorable.” Using technology for storage and post-harvest management can help Pakistan address its food insecurity issue. Investing in grain storage facilities can also help strengthen Pakistan's food value chain.

The PIDE vice chancellor added, ‘’The private sector can also play a critical role in improving grain storage facilities in Pakistan. The government can incentivize private companies to invest in building new storage facilities or upgrading the existing ones by providing tax breaks or other financial incentives. The private sector can also bring in new technologies and management practices to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of grain storage facilities.”

Use of modern technologies such as automated temperature control systems, moisture sensors, and pest control measures can significantly reduce post-harvest losses and increase the shelf life of the stored grains. These technologies can also provide real-time data on the grain status, enabling farmers and traders to make informed decisions about when to sell or use their stored grain.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk