Amartya Sen did a lot of research on the causes of famine and the gist of the conclusions was that lack of food was not a factor at all, and that various market failures were evident (including hoarding, purchases by the British military, price gouging etc.) which explains most of it. This perhaps contradicts Adam Smiths conclusion about bakers, bread and "the hidden hand" that means we can all get fed without benevolent bakers.
I don't disagree with the gist of that, and my belief is that Destitution, not Dearth is what causes famines (there is an Economist article of a few years ago that I could look up but I don't need it to make my point)
India became democratic after about that point, and the Government of India has, ever since, had a program of purchasing and distributing food for the poor, including subsidising food in good times and in bad. I like to call this system a "brute force" way of solving the problem. The "hidden hand" of commerce gets replaced by a very visible hand of the Government. However, is this brute force method foolproof? How expensive is it? Why does Australia not embrace or need something similar?
My assertion is that the policy of the Government of India has got the credit for avoiding famines when in reality, a policy concentrating on social welfare rather than food purchases would have both avoided famine more cheaply, and would have resulted in far higher economic growth meaning it would have been considered "first world" well before the turn of the century.
I completely disagree with the policy conclusion that Governments becoming buyers and sellers in the market is a good way to avoid the market failures that cause famines. Certainly there must be enough storage capacity for store levels to increase when prices are low, and drawn upon when prices are high, if only to buy enough time for suppliers to ramp up/down production/imports (panic buyers are profitable, if supply can be ramped up) . Social welfare to avoid destitution should be done with money or food vouchers rather than the food itself, so that market signals still function at the farm level (small farms will not ramp up production if the Government doesn't offer a higher purchase price). Governments are just as capable as individuals of hoarding, price gouging etc. when it comes to/from other countries, so what may be of benefit for a country in isolation may still be a complete disaster to an inoccent other country which has become destitute.
This is to say there is still a dearth of situations where Governments should involve themselves in consumables. Nor any situations where private interests should own infrastructure. That is not necessarily about whether an outcome is an aim of a policy, but whether the policy is equipped to give the desired result.