Agri Business

‘Better infrastructure must for farmers at markets’

KV Kurmanath New Delhi | Updated on February 28, 2020

(from left) Amit Mundawala, Executive Director, Agri Bazaar; Sunil Kumar Singh, additional MD, Nafed; G Chanderashekhar, Consulting Editor, BusinessLine ; P Soman, Chief Agronomist, Jain Irrigation; Giri Vasan, National Project Head, eNAM, Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals; and Garima Jain, CEO, Agro Corp (India), at the summit   -  Kamal Narang

What could be the best model for a right market access infrastructure? Can a national model address the needs of farmers in a vast country like India? Will it suit the requirements of farmers in different agro-climatic zones? Will one size fit all?

Experts representing public and private sectors felt that a variety of approaches were needed. Taking part in a panel discussion on ‘Building the right market access infrastructure’ at the BusinessLine Agri Summit here on Friday, they felt that both physical and soft (IT) infrastructure needed to be set up.

Garima Jain, Chief Executive Officer of Agro Corp (India), said the country had evolved from foodgrain shortage country to self-sufficiency situation and then arrived at the food surplus state. “We are still in the MSP regime, completely disconnected from what was happening outside,” she said.

Standardisation and assurance on quality of the farm output too were important challenges that the country faced, she felt.



P Soman, Chief Agronomist at Jain Irrigation, said that small and marginal farmers would require affordable models to gain technology inputs to improve their incomes. Working with them, understanding their needs and addressing them would go a long way in building trust.

Role of logistics

Giri Vasan, National Project Head of Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals’ eNAM initiative, said that logistics played a key role in ensuring quick movement of commodities between States. He said the important focus areas should be grading, sorting, packaging, warehousing and transport to help farmers get better returns.

He emphasised the need to establish both physical and soft (IT) infrastructure in order to complete the loop. The Centre has agreed to provide viability gap funding to States to establish infrastructure based on their needs.

G Chandrashekhar, Consulting Editor of BusinessLine, who moderated the session, said the country was saddled with ‘less than adequate’ infrastructure, both the physical infra and soft infra. The government was making efforts to improve situation in this regard.

The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) has said it is ready for carry out MSP (minimum support price) procurements through eNAM (electronic-National Agriculture Market). Sunil Kumar Singh, Additional Managing Director (NAFED), has said that this initiative will help farmers get used to the processes at the eNAM.

The onus is on both the public and private sector players to provide necessary infrastructure, to make it easy for farmers at the markets, he said.

“They can collect a small fee for the services but it is important to provide the facilities so that the farmers get a fair price and are encouraged to produce more and more,” he said.

He said out of the 23 commodities that the government announced MSPs NAFED was involved in 16 States. The federation made small interventions whenever and wherever the market prices were ruling below the MSPs. “Some times our presence itself set the situation right,” he said.

The NAFED procurement operations are done within the 90-day post-kharif and post-rabi harvests.

Published on February 28, 2020

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