The government of India will today launch an online trading platform for farmers, connecting them to a network of wholesale agricultural markets. To begin with, only 12 different farm commodities will be traded on the online platform, and only 21regulated wholesale markets (mandis) from eight different states are being considered under the pilot launch.
The platform is an extension of National Agricultural Market (NAM) scheme, which was first approved in July 2015 with a Rs 200 crore budget, and had originally planned to integrate at least 585 mandis under an online market by March 2018.
Below is a list of wholesale markets (mandis) being considered under the pilot project in eight states including Gujarat, Telangana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, and Himachal Pradesh.
The PIB release also noted that “many States and Union Territories expressed their willingness to join NAM, however, detailed proposals were received from 12 States for integration of 365 mandis.” Worth noting that there are a total of 7,000 mandis across the country.
The government has also mandated three different reforms for farmers trading through the online platform, under the State APMC Act. These include:
- Single or unique license requirement for farmers who will now be able to trade across any State
- Single point levy of market fee for all trading activities and
- A facility of online auction for easier price discovery.
Other online initiatives in agricultural sector
-AGMARKNET Scheme: The AGMARKNET initiative is being directed by the Ministry of Agriculture. It has already computerized a number of mandis, providing daily mandi rates through its online website. It also introduced two mobile apps—Kisan Suvidha & AgriMarket, which helps farmers procure information on crop insurance and prices of agricultural commodities. Under the initiative, at least 7000 wholesale markets (or mandis) were identified and established across the country, but only 3,000 of them are connected under the scheme until February.
-e-Choupal by ITC: e-Choupal is an outlet for sourcing raw materials and selling FMCG products, which was set up in rural outreaches by ITC, in partnership with local entrepreneurs. These are backed by a digital infrastructure, and offer farmers value added services such as crop advisories, advance weather forecasts, output price discovery, direct communication tools etc.