Electronic trading platform for Indian Farmers

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sumeet Kumar Sharma, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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To provide farmers a choice in selling what they produce, an electronic trading platform has been launched recently. This will mark the beginning of turnaround of economic life of farmers. The Platform is named as National Agricultural Market or e-NAM.

Currently the farmers sell in the closest market(mandi), but they receive a very minimal or distressed price for that. The e-NAM platform will allow them to sell their produce anywhere in the country. This will benefit all the stakeholders as farmers will earn more, traders will have a wider choice and consumers can expect lower prices.

The centre has approved 365 mandis from 12 states to join the platform, with an aim to bring 585 mandis on platform by March 2018. The first phase will allow trading in 25 crops, including wheat, maize, pulses, oilseeds, potatoes, onions and spices and will connect 21 mandis from eight states i.e. Gujarat, Telangana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh.

Initially, farmers will have the choice to sell at any mandi within the state, and the goal is to widen this to across the country. A national common market may not be a reality soon as states have to amend their marketing laws further and also states are often reluctant to let go of taxes and levies imposed on the marketing of agricultural produce.

But in future the scheme will definitely bring transparency and policymakers will have a better idea of real-time availability of crops. This will help smoothen movement of crops from surplus to deficit areas.

Today we cannot look at farming in bits and pieces, agriculture needs a holistic and science based approach. The e-NAM will soon serve this purpose and would enable farmers to move towards value addition of agricultural produce.

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