e-NAM still a work-in-progress

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  • Agriculture Market (e-NAM), the Union government move that was designed to help them in that very task, is still a work-in-progress.
  • The prime minister launched it amid much fanfare in April 2016, with the target of reaching 400 large mandis by the first year and 585 by March 2018.
  • Initially, 25 commodities were to be available for trade.
  • After a year later, while the network was short of the initial targets as of March, even in the mandis that have enrolled, facilities have not reached optimal levels.
  • The country needs 44,000 go-downs, it has only 7,700. This is where e-mandis and projects like e-NAM come into the picture.

Why e-NAM was formed?

  • Agriculture marketing is administered by states, under own regulations.
  • A state is divided into several market areas, each of which is administered by a, APMC with own regulations, including fees.
  • This fragmentation of markets even within a state hinders free flow of commodities from one area to another. The multiple handling of produce and multiple levels of mandi charges result in escalating of prices for consumers, without commensurate benefit to the farmer.

Agricultural produce market committee (APMC):-

APMC operate on two principles:-

  • Ensure that farmers are not exploited by intermediaries (or money lenders) who compel farmers to sell their produce at the farm gate for an extremely low price.
  • All food produce should first be brought to a market yard and then sold through auction.
  • Each state which operates APMC markets geographically divide the state and markets (mandis) are established at different places within the state.
  • Farmers are required to sell their produce via auction at the mandi in their region. Traders require a license to operate within a mandi. Wholesale and retail traders (e.g. shopping mall owners) and food processing companies cannot buy produce directly from a farmer.

Progress Report:-

  • In Madhya Pradesh, is one of a dozen that have joined the e-NAM platform. According to the e-NAM portal, of the 250 mandis registered across the country, 21 are in MP.
  • While Bhopal’s Karond mandi is the biggest in the state, with the highest number of commodities listed for trade, Mandsaur (listed in the portal as Mandsore), centre of the ongoing farmer protests, is also one of the mandis registered.
  • It is still in the registration stage at some places.
  • One state which has made considerable progress is Karnataka. Where 157 mandis use e-trading, e-permits, e-payments, and scientific grading and assaying services.

Advantages of e-NAM:-

  • A reduction in book keeping and reporting system (reports were previously prepared viz. daily minimum, maximum and modal prices and arrivals of commodities) that are now generated automatically.
  • For better monitoring and regulation of traders and commission agents (CA’s).
    Completely transparent system that eliminates any scope of intentional/un-intentional manipulation of tendering / auctioning process.
  • Improvement in the market fee collection by means of accounting all the transactions that are taking place in the market.
  • Reduction in manpower requirements as tendering/auctioning process takes place through the system.
  • Analysis and forecasting of the arrivals and prices.
  • Availability of the activities of each APMC on the website directly.