NEW DELHI (Commodity Online): Food Corporation of India, the government monolith for the execution of the food policies of the country, has been come under close scrutiny at the recently held international wheat seminar.

According to the Union Ministry of Food, the FCI is the main government agency responsible for execution of the food policies of India. When FCI carries unconscionable levels of rice and wheat stocks, there is a smug feeling in the government circles that everything is under control, including prices.

The seminar found that the FCI needs to pump huge investment in order to upgrade the warehouses, the storage capacity and transporting systems.

Meanwhile, the rice procurement by FCI for the buffer stock during October 1, 2009 to March 21, 2010, fell by 2.45% to 24.65 million metric tonnes as against 25.27 million tonnes in the previous year during the same period, said a FCI official.

However, India's rice buffer stocks doubled to 26.95 million tonnes from its requirement of 11.8 million tonnes due to the record purchases from the farmers at higher rates in the marketing year ended September 30, 2009, he added.

FCI buys staple food grains from farmers to build federal stocks, mainly to meet demand under various welfare programs and prevent distress sales by farmers. The stocks are crucial to the country's policies on the import and export of food grains.

Functions of FCI primarily relate to purchase, storage, movement, transportation, distribution and sale of food grains on behalf of the Central Government. Policymakers and others often tend to equate the food security of the country with the level of buffer stocks with FCI.