Both DoP and MCX had earlier agreed on providing facilities like making inquiries and futures trading at the departments post offices in Jalgaon where a pilot project was initiated in June 2006 and recently at Dhamangaon.
The exchange has set up two hubs at head post office of Jalgaon and Dhamangaon (55 km from Amravati) and one each at Itarsi (Madhya Pradesh) and Unjha (Gujarat).
Initially, the response from farmers has been slow, but gradually there has been a surge in the number of queries raised by them after the successful launch of the project in Jalgaon. Under the tie-up, the IT infrastructure is being provided by MCX while DoPs personnel are trained to handle the inquiries and transactions.
DoP seeks to provide services to more and more farmers and other traders in these small towns and villages. Therefore, the DoP intends to expand and take these services to more post offices in other cities.
Under the programme, a farmer can route his query to the MCX representative stationed at the post office through the village postman. The queries are sent online to the nearest agriculture research centres and responses delivered to the farmer through the postman.
Besides specific queries, support information on farm-related issues and pricing are also being provided on a daily basis.
The MCX hubs at post offices would be armed with a computer terminal with Internet access, a printer, a scanner, a fax machine and an electronic MCX commodity price ticker. The exchange charges Rs 10 per query on crop advisory services.
The exchange is also helping farmers get insurance cover by compiling data through farmer associations. We are spreading the awareness on timing the market (when to sell their produce) among farmers through panchayat heads, said the official.
Apart from making farmers understand the benefit of futures trading, MCX also provides them with timely advice on fertilisers, pesticide, finance and warehousing, he added.