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Analysis of Kurukshetra Magazine: ”e-NAM: Helping Farmers to Earn Better”

Introduction

  • In 2016, an online trading platform named National Agriculture Market or eNAM was launched by the Government of India in order to facilitate online trading of commodities for farmers, traders and buyers.
  • National Agriculture Market (eNAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal that networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
  • Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the lead agency for implementing eNAM under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.
  • e-NAM platform has no provision to capture prices of non-e-NAM mandis.
  • The price of agricultural produce is dependent mainly on the supply, demand, climatic conditions, location of the market from the production area and quality of the product etc.

What is the difference between e-NAM and existing Mandis?

  • e-NAM is not a parallel marketing structure but rather a device to create a national network of physical mandis that can be accessed online.
  • It seeks to leverage the physical infrastructure of the mandis through an online trading portal, enabling buyers situated even outside the Mandi/ State to participate in trading at the local level

Do APMC Mandis lose business due to e-NAM?

  • Mandis do not lose any business. e-NAM basically increases the choice of the farmer when he brings his produce to the mandi for sale.
  • Local traders can bid for the produce, as also traders on the electronic platform sitting in other states/ Mandi. The farmer may choose to accept either the local offer or the online offer.
  • In either case, the transaction will be on the books of the local mandi and they will continue to earn the market fee. In fact, the volume of business will significantly increase as there will be greater competition for specific produce, resulting in higher market fees for the mandi.

Which steps did the government take to strengthen e-NAM?

  • Integration of additional 415 mandis with e-NAM, taking the total number of mandis to 1000 across 18 states and 3 UTs, thus bringing more markets access to farmers to sell their agriculture produce.
  • FPO trading module has been launched whereby FPOs can trade their produce from their collection center/ premise without bringing the produce to APMC.
  • Warehouse based trading module is provided in e-NAM to facilitate trade from warehouses based on e-NWR
    Further, the e-NAM platform is made interoperable with the Rashtriya e Market Services Private Limited (ReMS) platform of the Government of Karnataka which will facilitate Farmers of either platforms were can sell their produce on other platforms thereby increasing their market access.
  • Farmers / Sellers can locate their nearby e-NAM mandi using GPS based mandi locator feature through e-NAM mobile app. This will helps the farmers to easily locate and reach the selected mandis and sell their agri-produce.
  • Integration with AGMARKNET platform: Farmer can access the prevailing commodity prices & arrival information of e-NAM mandi as well as non e-NAM mandi on e-NAM mobile app. prior to even going to the mandi.
  • e-NAM portal is available in English and 11 Indian languages (Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Odiya, Dogri, Malayalam and Kannada) to facilitate farmers to use e-NAM in the language of their choice.

How is e-NAM Helping farmers to earn better?

  • The e-NAM Portal helps in providing a single-window service in all aspects like commodity arrivals & prices, buy & sell trade offers, provision to respond to trade offers etc. While material flow (agriculture produce) continues to happen through mandis (markets).
  • An online market reduces the costs of transactions and helps in overcoming information asymmetry. It also helps in scientific price discovery through the increased participation of traders across the country.
  • A Unified Agriculture Market has its positive impacts on Institution and physical environment, balanced development across the states, competitiveness, farmer’s participation, better price, price transparency, reduction in the number of intermediaries and creation of new markets.
  • The benefits of the eNAM process to farmers have found a positive response in selected eNAM states in India. The evolution of the development of eNAM in India is providing a better platform for farmers for effective online trading.
  • It has been found that as perceived by the majority of farmers price discovery is improving through online trading since the inception of the eNAM. It has now been capturing cent per cent arrivals of the commodity in the market, increasing the farmer’s registrations, which indicates acceptance and confidence level of farmers has been increasing in the eNAM mandi.
  • The scientific way of assaying also provides effective information to farmers for assessing the quality of products and fixing the value for their produce.

How to overcome the Challenges?

  • It has been found that markets are facing pretty challenges in the implementation of eNAM, such as edification of online systems and processes among the farmers, assaying machinery, basic infrastructure, online payment etc.
  • To overcome the challenges faced by the farmers in the Agri-value chain, eNAM has to provide suitable solutions through holistic development in the marketing system including reforms in the state APMC Act, education of the stakeholders, development of necessary infrastructure facilities in the market, institutional support & good governance to address the dispute during the online trade.
  • There is a requirement to develop a scientific method of sensitization to popularize the eNAM in the state as well as in the country.
  • As farmer is one of the important stakeholders in the eNAM platform, there is a need to provide a proper non-monetary incentive to farmers in terms of the creation of awareness along with monetary incentives to brand flagship programme called eNAM.

Conclusion

It’s high time to make the Indian agricultural trading process transparent. E-mandis and apps that educate farmers about online trade and help them with business can pave the way for the future. With growing digitisation, farmers can gain benefits from the more straightforward process offered by the online platform, take hold of their finances and, in turn, grow their customer base.

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