In a bid to boost trade through electronic-National Agriculture Market (eNAM), the Centre on Wednesday asked states to ensure multiple bidding for agricultural commodities online in mandis integrated with the national portal on a real-time basis so that ‘real’ discovery of prices by farmers could take place. Official sources told FE that at present majority of online transactions through eNAM across 270-odd mandis are based on single bids. “Physical auction is made and the final settled price along with the commodity details, weight etc., is uploaded post-facto on the portal,” a source said.
Following a review meeting chaired by Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh with the representatives of states, the agriculture ministry has asked the states to discontinue the practice of ‘one to one’ trade where the seller or farmer brings produce to a pre-fixed buyer, who purchases the stock at a pre-fixed price, without any competitive mechanism. “The states must provide basic facilities to boost inter-mandi trading and inter-state trading through eNAM platform,” Singh told the representatives. A few states such as Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh have provided inter-trading facilities through eNAM in a limited number of mandis. According to an official statement, states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have reduced market or mandi fee for online traders. The ministry also asked states not to show purchase of grain under the minimum support price (MSP) operations as transactions through the eNAM from October 1.
By showing the government’s own MSP operations carried out on behalf of FCI as eNAM sales has helped few states like Haryana to report relative progress on this pet project of the Modi government. “The portal is being designed to record these (MSP purchases) as segregated from online bidding,” a source said. An official said that the agriculture ministry has asked states to ensure ‘compulsory assaying of online traded lots and all payments should be made online to farmers’ bank accounts,’. The ministry also asked the states to deploy adequate trained manpower, provide infrastructure including internet connectivity and other facilities like assaying labs and banking facilities on an urgent basis. “Assaying based trading will justify differential prices for different lots making the farmer aware of the importance of grading and improved quality of produce brought to the mandis,” according to agriculture ministry note.