Thursday, April 14, 2016

E-portal launched to link wholesale agri markets

Narendra Modi

An electronic national agriculture market, Prime Ministersaid after launching a portal to get this going, would enable farmers to get a good price for their produce and get middlemen and consumers a transparent system of price discovery.

Launching the portal for an electronic national agricultural market (NAM), he said the (APMCs) under exiting law had till now acted as barriers to free movement of produce. This, the electronic market will seek to remove.

He urged states where the APMC Act is in force to amend their respective laws in line with the requirement for a national market. By the new guidelines, those mandis (wholesale markets) which want to participate in the electronic platform and avail of the central grant of Rs 30 lakh for this need to fulfill three criteria. These are to put in place an e-auction platform for price discovery of produce, provide a single licence that is valid across the state and a single-point levy of market fee.

"The electronic market will enable the farmer to get good price for his produce and also empower him to decide what to sell and whom to sell," said Modi. Adding, when I talk about doubling farmers' income, I have a clear road map in mind which will be unveiled as we go forward.

Officials said 21 mandis in eight major states would be integrated in the first phase, scaled up to cover 585 mandis or in the next three years. India has 2,477 principal mandis and 4,843 sub-markets created by the APMCs. There is a corpus of Rs 200 crore to be spent over three years for the first phase of linking.

The 21 which would come under are in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The largest number which would joined in the first phase are in UP.

The Karnataka government has already set up its own online agri-market platform, integrating 13 mandis. Maharashtra has begun doing so. After roll-out in 21 mandis, implementation would be handed over by the Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium, an arm of the department of agriculture, to another agency or body.

This latter body would ensure the process of online trading is smoothly conducted and the process of digitisation carries on, a senior DoA official said.

A major objective of the common market is to iron out the price differentials that exist across the country, by curbing the tendency to hoard, which could lead to oderation of food inflation. The integration is hoped to address the problematic APMC law, through which state governments exercise control over wholesale markets.

APMCs were first established to provide an organised marketplace to farmers and to ensure against exploitation by unscrupulous buyers. However, they're held to have played a role which is opposite to their stated objective, with their operations invariably hidden from scrutiny. The management of most is in the hands of political parties, which have a cosy relationship with commission agents to form cartels.

Source : Business Std

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