Amid extensions of lockdowns in states due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), which is implementing the electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM) project under the agriculture ministry, plans to add 415 mandis to the existing 585 mandis. This will take the total number of eNAM mandis to 1,000 across 21 states and Union Territories, helping farmers to get real-time payments. SFAC is working to on-board more banks to broad-base the options for farmers and traders. The existing network of 585 mandis across 16 states and two Union Territories has a user base of 16.6 million farmers, 128,000 traders and 70,934 commission agents.
The eNAM portal provides a single-window service for all Agricultural Produce & Livestock Market Committee-related information and services, including commodity arrivals, quality and prices, provisions to respond to trade offers and electronic payment settlements directly into farmers’ accounts.
This pan-India electronic trading portal, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2016, aims at reducing transaction costs, bridging information asymmetries and expanding market access for farmers. eNAM provides a unique trading platform for farmers during the lockdown period, SFAC managing director Neelkamal Darbari said in a statement on the eve of its fourth anniversary The platform “not only helps in decongesting the APMC premises, through a transparent system of assaying, electronic bidding and online payment facility but also ensures better and remunerative prices to the farmers,” she said.
In a bid to mitigate the challenges faced by stakeholders, especially farmers, during the lockdown, the eNAM platform launched three features on April 2 – an FPO module, warehouse-based trading and a logistics module. The FPO module allows farmer producer organisations (FPOs) to upload details of produce from their collection centres, a move aimed at decongesting the mandis and reducing their logistics costs.
Warehouse-based trading provides immediate relief for rabi crop farmers due to the logistics challenges in the short run, Darbari said. Small and marginal farmers can directly trade their stored produce from selected registered warehouses that were declared deemed markets by the states.
The logistics module links allows traders to navigate to websites of registered logistics service providers and avail of their offerings. Darbari said a total volume of 33.9 million metric tonnes worth Rs 1 lakh crore involving 228 mandis across 12 states was traded on the eNAM platform as of March-end, benefiting more than 11.8 million farmers.