What is buffer stock?
It is a stock of foodgrains such as wheat, rice, etc. These are procured by the government of India by the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
The FCI procures the foodgrains from the farmer in states where there is surplus production and at the preannounced price which is called Minimum Support Price (MSP).
The minimum support price is declared by the government every year before the sowing season so as to provide incentives to the farmers for raising the production of such crops.
The procured food grains are stored in Granaries.
Why does the government usually maintain a buffer stock?
To distribute the food ration to people in deficit areas and to the poor people at the price lower the market price. This price is also known as the Issue Price.
Buffer stock also helps the problem of shortage of food during famine or natural disaster. Another advantage is its helps farmer income as the government directly procures and gives incentives to the farmer, it helps to stabilize the market prices, and also it helps to reduce food inflation.
Food security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, means that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.https://www.ifpri.org/topic/food-security
The purpose of food security is to increase the productivity of food and to ensure access to food for all people. This also increases the opportunities for income generation, improvement of nutrition values, and improvement in quality of life by way of community development.
There are four levels of food security, identified by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation or FAO. These are called the Four Pillars of food security and they are Availability, access, utilization, and Stability.
Need of Food Security
Food security is needed to ensure that each person in a country has access to food that is healthy and safe to consume throughout the year.
It is important, especially during a drought, disaster, etc. Because during this time the supply of food gets decreased. Consequently, the price of food increases several times.
This makes accessibility to food, mainly to poor people gets difficult. But Food security guaranteed the food grains distribution at cheap rates to the poor people.
Example: Ration Shops, School Meal Programmes, Soup Kitchens, etc.