Maharashtra’s 60 Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs), which are part of the Centre’s eNAM platform, will soon move towards inter-state trade of farm products with markets in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
A meeting of representatives of the selected mandis in the state from Pune, Mumbai, Akola, Basmat and Nagpur, along with representatives from the mandis of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh was organised by the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) in Pune.
The meeting was held to finalise the modalities involved in inter-state trade on eNAM. Senior officials who were present for the meeting stated that at present inter-state trade is being pursued manually between mandis of different states. The challenge is to make these transactions digital on the eNAM platform. Inter-state trade of farm products in mandis (wholesale markets) through the eNAM platform has been gaining momentum with transactions taking place at Gujarat’s Palanpur mandi, which sold green gram to Sumerpur mandi of Rajasthan a few months ago.
Madhya Pradesh, for instance, has already been trading in wheat with Maharashtra manually. These mandis in the state are already involved in intra-mandi trade (within the mandi), inter-mandi trade (e-trade in 60 mandis) and now the third phase involves inter-state trade, he said.
Here traders are concerned about the payment settlement, the delivery methods, quality issues, dispute redressal mechanism involved in this process, the official pointed out, adding that while traders earlier went through an agent who took care of the aggregation and payment process, traders are now keen to know the entire process involved and the accountability of the persons involved in the trade, he added.
Moreover , unified licence is required by traders to get into inter-state trade on the eNAM platform from various states, he said, adding that the framework is ready and traders have to apply for the licenses. Trading could begin in a month or so, he felt.
A total of 585 wholesale regulated markets/Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets have been so far integrated with the electronic national agricultural market (eNAM) platform. The connected APMC markets belong to 16 states and 2 UTs, which have carried out requisite reforms in their state APMC Act.
eNAM is a virtual marketplace with a physical market (mandi) at the backend, networking the existing APMC/mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities for pan-India electronic trading. Mandis handle huge volumes of farm produce. eNAM provides quick quality assaying solutions (preferably within a minute/parameter) to promote online trading.
For APMC markets and mandis to be connected with eNAM, their corresponding states have to first carry out three marketing reforms in their APMC Act. These are: a single point levy of mandi fee, unified trade license valid across all mandis of the state, and provision of e-auction facilities. After carrying out these reforms, the states are required to nominate their wholesale regulated markets for integration with the eNAM platform based on the state’s priorities, which are then considered by the Centre for integration.
In Maharashtra, of the 60 Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs), 30 have switched to digital transactions and have begun e-auctions. These 30 APMCs were part of the first phase of the Union agriculture ministry-promoted electronic platform National Agriculture Market (eNAM). Soon, 15 more mandis are expected to begin e-auctions as well. Assaying laboratories have been set up in 28 market committees for quality control of the agricultural produce. Under eNAM, harmonisation of quality standards of agricultural produce and provision for assaying (quality testing) infrastructure in every market is mandatory to enable informed bidding by the buyers. Common tradable parameters have so far been developed for 69 commodities. In Maharashtra, 1,008 lots have been tested and checked in some 17 market committees. Assaying services will begin in another 11 market committees soon. According to Dehsmukh, e-payment services have commenced on a pilot basis in Daund and Wardha market committees. Till date, 2,24,487 farmers, 7,570 traders and 6,991 commission agents have registered under eNAM.
Maharashtra has also declared awards for mandis that perform well in eNAM, the first state to do so. The minister also said that action will be taken against mandis that which do not comply as per rules. The National Agriculture Market (NAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities. The NAM portal provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services. This includes commodity arrivals & prices, buy and sell trade offers, provision to respond to trade offers, among other services. The Centre has allotted around Rs 30 lakh per mandi, which means the state has received Rs 9 crore for the project.
The progress of these mandis will be monitored following which the state shall move into the next phase in three to four months, MSAMB MD Sunil Pawar had said earlier. While material flow (agriculture produce) continue to happen through mandis, an online market reduces transaction costs and information asymmetry.The government has tried to free up agricultural markets and let farmers sell at the best prices they can get.