The government on Thursday announced integration of trading, transportation, logistics, warehousing, assaying, packaging, weather forecast and fintech services provided by 41 private entities with its electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), a move that would make more farmers use the online platform to sell their produce to buyers of their choice.
More than 17.6 million registered farmers, farmer producer organisations (FPOs), traders, commission agents and other stakeholders registered with the eNAM platform can avail these services provided by these private enterprises.
Entities whose digital platforms which have been integrated with eNAM include Star Agrobazaar Technology, Kisan Network, FPO Bazaar, Arya collateral, Aryadhan, Intello Lab, Bijak and Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority.
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar formally launched the e-NAM platform-of-platforms by stating that this would give a boost to online trade and ensure better price discovery by the platform.
According to an official with Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC), which operates the eNAM, the aim behind this integration of platforms by private players under e-NAM is to make available end-to-end services to farmers along with providing a platform for price discovery.
The official said that SFAC is aiming at bringing on board as many players so that farmers have the choice to take agri-services after registering with e-NAM portal.
“Integration of our embedded fintech platform with eNAM will enable access to finance for historically excluded small farmers and strengthen them socioeconomically,” Prasanna Rao, co-founder and CEO, Arya.ag, an agri-fintech platform, told FE.
Currently, 1,000 mandis in 22 states and Union territories are integrated into the e-NAM platform, which was launched in April 2016. At present, 17.3 million farmers, 2100 FPOs, 0226 million traders and around 0.1 million commission agents are registered with e-NAM.
However only 586 mandis are currently providing online trading services to farmers mostly within the states. Inter-state trade in farm produce — a facility for a farmer in one state to sell his produce to buyers in another state — is yet to gather momentum. This is one of the chief objectives of this platform for price discovery.
Because of small land holding of the farmers, SFAC has been focussing on formation of FPOs and encouraging them participate in the e-NAM platform for collective bargaining power. SFAC launched FPO trading module during covid-19 restrictions to enable FPOs to upload their produce from collection centres, farm gate with picture and quality parameter for online bidding, without physically bringing their produce to the mandis.
Meanwhile, SFAC has empaneled private banks such as Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank, Indusind Bank and ICICI Bank for provisioning of payment and settlement services for e-NAM transactions.
The empanelment of these banks enables collections and settlement of funds to various e-NAM registered beneficiaries across the country.