Hence, National Agriculture Market (NAM) or e-Mandi will eliminate these restrictions on the farmers and agents both. Farmers can now sell their produces on online portal prepared Ministry of Agriculture, anywhere in India to any registered agent who will bid the agriculture crops and the highest bidder will get crops. This will give farmers better option to sell their crops at higher and correct price with transparency and agents can buy the products according to their needs throughout India.
Why e-Mandi is necessary
India has 56 per cent population engaged in agriculture activity and most of the farmers are small and marginal farmers without basic infrastructure to improve their productivity and income. Government has launched many schemes to mitigate the stress of farmers, but little has reached on the grounds to show real impact in the lives of farmers.
The biggest distress for farmers are not getting the right cost of their produce or crops which lead them to debt. Every state has Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) under which buyers and sellers (farmers) work. But, this APMC act restrict the buyers and sellers to buy and sell the crops in notified mandi of the particular state where the crop has been grown. Buyers have to take different license for different mandi to operate within the state. And, farmers are forced to sell their first crops after harvesting in these mandis or agriculture markets to notified agents only at the bid done by them.
This system has lack of transparency, wastage of crops, farmers don’t get right cost of their crops, lack of basic infrastructure in markets or mandis, hoarding, etc. This affect the varied prices of vegetables and fruit at different retail markets in India.
With the objective to double farmers income by 2022 and provide the right cost of their crops, National Agriculture Market with e-trading platform or ‘e-Mandi‘ has been launched at National level with the integration of 21 markets of 8 states. Other 200 mandis will be integrated by 2016 and all 585 mandis by March, 2018. Under this Project, Government of India is providing a grant of Rs. 30 lacs to the proposed agriculture mandis of the states. The farmers will be provided “farmer helpline services round the clock” for obtaining information related to this portal.
First implementation of unified agriculture market
The first initiative taken by Karnataka government in 2013. The government set up Agriculture Marketing Reforms Committee to propose the use of digital technology in agriculture marketing system. After this report, the government established Rashtriya e-Market Services(ReMS), a 50:50 joint venture with NCDEX Spot Exchange, to offer a real time auction platform, connecting all the APMC markets in Karnataka in Feb, 2014.
It integrated 155 main APMC market yards and 354 sub yards into a single licensing system through this platform. The trading system has encouraged wholesale dealers such as Metro Cash and Carry and other major traders in different parts of the State to participate in online trading and quote competitive prices. This pushed the prices of agriculture produce across the state with better payouts to the farmers.
Karnataka has, thus set an example for the nation to emulate and brought about one of the best governance systems in agricultural marketing, replacing Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) act by NAM system.
How this will help farmers and consumers
This initiative has been envisaged to provide win-win situation for both farmers and consumers:-
- It will bring transparency in selling and buying crops through digital portal.
- It will strengthen price risk management of the farmers by averting the need to bring produce in the market physically and stored in the warehouse.
- Buyers or agents will be responsible for the commodities storage and sale in the retail market, after farmers get their dues.
- It eliminates multiple tax levies and licenses. Farmers and agents need not register in all APMC’s of all state. It is unified market at national level.
- Consumers will get the right cost of commodities for consumption. Digital transparency will insure from hoarding, black marketing and price rise.
- Wastage of crops can be mitigated by diverting the risk from farmers to buyers.
- More investment will be done by farmers to grow quality crops in order to earn higher returns.
Hurdle to implement this scheme successfully
There are hurdles in making it a successful program. The center and state government need to develop Digital infrastructure to make it available for farmers to use e-portal to sell their crops. Farmers are usually unaware of the government initiatives and schemes and how to avail them. This will also have to ensure that all farmers get to know about the selling of their commodities through NAM system and what are the benefits of using it.
This is no doubt that National Agriculture Market (NAM) can transform the agriculture system, commodities supply and farmers financial health in the country, if rightly implemented from the ground level.