Deep Dive

14% of APMC mandis, farmers have joined e-NAM

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on June 27, 2021

A farmer working in a paddy field is silhouetted against the setting sun on the outskirts of Agartala, capital of India's northeastern state of Tripura (file photo)   -  REUTERS

The e-trading portal that aims to regulate wholesale mandis still has a long way to go

No one among the group of farmers, jostling with each other to enter the Pune Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) premises, was ready to listen to the security guards. Everyone wanted to rush in with their produce stacked on tractors and rickshaws. After a series of restrictions and lockdowns, the functioning of the APMC is limping back to normalcy, but not without new rules and regulations dictated by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“The government must not put any restrictions on markets. Now, they are talking about the third wave. How are we going to survive if we don’t sell our produce in the market?” asked Dada Kondhe, a farmer. Others echoed his sentiments. Ask them about the government’s National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) scheme which enables online trading, they are completely clueless. One of them asks if the government is going to give inam (award) to farmers. “We know only APMC mandis,” they say as they rush in to the APMC premises as gates are opened.

e-NAM was launched on 14 April, 2016 as a pan-India electronic trade portal linking APMCs across the States. The move intended to regulate wholesale mandis, that are integrated through a virtual platform, to facilitate online trading of agriculture and horticulture commodities. The platform is expected to provide transparent price discovery for the produce of farmers through a competitive online bidding system. The e-NAM platform provides a choice to the farmers for selling their produce to traders without any intermediation including without commission agent, who dominate the actual trading at APMCs. In the five years of existence, e-NAM has begun making visible inroads, but there is still a long way to go.


Mandis and cultivators

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare told Lok Sabha in February this year that there are 6,946 regulated wholesale APMC mandis as on March 2018. The e-NAM website data shows that 1,000 mandis (14 per cent) across 18 States and 3 Union Territories are integrated. This leaves 5,946 mandis out of range. There is a long way to go to create ‘One Nation One Market’.


Rajasthan has integrated the highest number of mandis (144) on e –NAM, followed by Uttar Pradesh (125), Gujarat (122), Maharashtra (118) and Haryana (81). Out of total mandis on e-NAM, 59 per cent mandis are from these top five States. Karnataka (2) and Kerala (6) are among States that have less than 10 mandis on e-NAM. Karnataka has its own platforms for farmers. The Central government has made the e-NAM platform interoperable with Karnataka’s ReMS platform to facilitate farmers to sell their produce using either platform.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the current Union Budget has announced to further integrate 1,000 more mandis with e-NAM. The Agriculture Ministry claims that the online and transparent bidding system is encouraging farmers to increasingly trade on e-NAM platform. The total trade volume of 4.13 crore MT of bulk commodities and 3.68 crore numbers of coconut and bamboo worth approximately ₹1.22-lakh crore has been recorded on e-NAM platform till date as per the Ministry’s data released in February this year.

There are various counts of farmers in the census, surveys and reports. As per the Population Census 2011, the number of cultivators in the country is 11.8 crore out of which only 1.70 crore that is 14 per cent farmers are on e-NAM. Haryana is the only State where the number of farmers joining e-NAM has exceeded the number of farmers as per the 2011 census.

About 31 per cent farmers from Madhya Pradesh followed by Andhra Pradesh (22 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (17 per cent), Gujarat (16 per cent) and Punjab (11 per cent) are on e-NAM. Uttarakhand (3 per cent), Chhattisgarh (3 per cent) and West Bengal (1 per cent) are among the States where farmers have stayed away from e-NAM. Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Gujarat are the States where not even one per cent of the farmers have joined e-NAM.

FPOs and traders

During Covid-19, e-NAM platform/mobile app has been further strengthened by launching FPO trading module in e-NAM where by FPOs can trade their produce from their collection centre without bringing the produce to APMC.

About 1,856 FPOs are on e-NAM. With strong FPO movement, Maharashtra leads the chart where 257 FPOs are on e-NAM followed by Haryana (226), Uttar Pradesh (222), Andhra Pradesh (170) and Odisha (158). Interestingly, 73 per cent of the registered 1,69,548 traders on e-NAM come from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Haryana. Also, Haryana has the highest number of commission agents (23, 942) followed by Rajasthan (16,366), Maharashtra (16,183), Uttar Pradesh (8,524) and Punjab (8,442).

Future markets

e-NAM is now developing as “Platforms of Platform” to create a digital ecosystem that leverage the expertise of individual platforms across various segments of agricultural value chain developing and integrating service platform with e-NAM. This includes QC services, transportation and delivery services, sorting/grading services, packaging services, insurance, trade finance, warehouses etc. This will enable the farmers to add value to their produce and facilitate them with ease of agri marketing.

“e-NAM is the best platform for farmers to save themselves from exploitation. However, government and APMC officials are not enthusiastic about helping and guiding farmers to connect to e-NAM. Also, digital literacy remains a problem for many farmers. But young farmers are joining the digital platform,” said Prashant Pawar, an entrepreneur and farmer. He added online marketing is the only way to save farmers from arhtiyas, traders and APMC officials are hand in glove to loot farmers.

Published on June 27, 2021

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