Project overview

To ensure efficient and effective distribution of food grains at the last mile, WFP India has developed Annapurti. Annapurti (Hindi for fulfiller of food) is an automated multi-commodity dispensing machine, which will provide beneficiaries with consistent access to their full food ration with speed and accuracy.

The problem

The Government of India operates one of the world’s largest food-based safety nets, under which subsidized grains are provided to 813 million people every month, through a network of over 500,000 last-mile outlets called Fair Price Shops (FPS). Under the current set up, FPS operators manually weigh and distribute the food grain. However, this manual weighing and distribution of grains is not without problems. It requires the people receiving assistance to queue for long hours, there is a high possibility of grain spillage and waste, and may even lead to people not receiving their share of food assistance.

A beneficiary receiving her grain entitlement at a Fair Price Shop (FPS). Photo credit: WFP/Isheeta Sumra

The solution

WFP India conceptualized, designed and developed the “Annapurti” machine which dispenses the type and quantity of the selected grain (wheat, rice or millet) commodity to each beneficiary, after biometric authentication. Annapurti dispenses one or two grain commodities, up to 50 kilograms, in five minutes, with an error rate of 0.01 percent. The entire solution, including the volume of the storage unit, is modular or easily assembled and can be put together depending on the amount of space available. To ensure food security with efficient energy access, the machine has been designed to  consume only 0.6 Watt per hour. It can also be attached to solar panels, inverter batteries and elevators for automatic refilling.

A miller from India stands beside the Annapurti machine. Photo credit: WFP/Piyush Kanal

Annapurti machines
Units developed and to be deployed
Designs to support variation in volume and speed
50 kilograms
Grain dispensed in 5 minutes with an error rate of 0.01%
Target beneficiaries per month per unit
The way forward

Working in close collaboration with the Government of India, WFP aims to complete at least one cycle of food distributions in 2021 at five locations to test the speed, accuracy and capacity of the machines, as well as the acceptability of the machines by the Fair Price Shop retailers and convenience for the beneficiaries. The team will provide a pilot report for the proof of concept to the Government of India for scale-up in coming years.

The Annapurti team. Photo credit: WFP/Piyush Kanal


Meet the team

Ankit Sood
Ankit Sood
WFP India Head Supply Chain and PDS Unit
Piyush Kanal
Piyush Kanal
WFP India Programme Policy Officer
Nishant Aggarwhal
Nishant Aggarwhal
WFP India Programme Policy Officer
Last updated: 26/08/2021