A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a project to create a common electronic platform linking the key agriculture markets (mandis) in the county, the project is yet to take off. The project’s objective is to increase the farmer’s net returns by making available a nationwide market, but what has been achieved in the last year is merely shifting of the transactions within mandis to the electronic mode by only some states like Haryana, while others haven’t done even that. More than a fifth of Haryana’s mandi trade of some `36,000 crore is currently carried out on the e-platform, but it can hardly be called electronic national agriculture market (e-NAM) sales, as cross-mandi trade hasn’t been facilitated.
In all, some 400 mandis across 13 states used electronic means for transactions since April last year, covering trade of about 1 16,000 crore. Haryana accounted for 53% of this e-trade, followed by Telengana (20%) and Gujarat (18%).
An official with Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board (HSAMB) told FE that a major chunk of trade in paddy has already shifted to the electronic mode. “In the next one year, we will be integrating all the 108 mandis in the state on the e-NAM platform,” he said.
The official said though electronic trade is now happening within the mandis, the next step would be linking all key mandis in the state electronically and then connecting them to markets in other states. “We have granted 20 licences to traders who want to conduct trade within all the mandis electronically,” the official said.
Experts say only after the integration of all the big mandis (some 500 in the country) under one single electronic platform where farmers and traders could sell and buy commodities irrespective of state borders, the pan-India agricultural market would be a reality.
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To be ready for e-NAM, state governments are being asked to carry out mandatory changes in their respective agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) acts to issue e-trading licences, single point levy of market fee across each state and unified single trading licence.The government is providing Rs 75 lakh for each mandi to create the necessary cleaning, grading and packaging facilities.
Around 38 lakh farmers of an estimated 14 crore in the country have registered with the e-market so far. More than 87,000 traders and 43,000 commission agents have also been registered. India’s total trade in agricultural commodities is worth around Rs 6 lakh crore annually.