The value of total transactions on the government-controlled electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) has zoomed to a record in the first ten months of the current fiscal against the transactions witnessed since it was launched during 2016-17. hThe higher transaction is seen as a success of moving towards the digital and online platform by the stakeholders.

Total transactions over e-NAM was ₹42,163 crore during April-January of the current fiscal against ₹31,366 crore entirely in 2020-21, sources said. If the transactions continue at the current rate, the business during this year could touch ₹46,000 crore, sources said. The next rabi crop will arrive from mid-March, while arrivals of 2021 kharif crops have almost dried up, an industry official said, adding the much business may not take place during February-March.

In 2020-21, the turnover on e-NAM, an online platform connecting 1,000 Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis across the country, witnessed 10.2 per cent drop at ₹31,366 crore against ₹34,940 crore in the previous year.

Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh continue to be the top three performers on the e-NAM platform, clocking 73 per cent of the total transactions this year, whereas their combined share was 66 per cent in last year’s trade value. Good performers have not only sustained the interests of farmers and traders but exceeded have their targets. On the other hand, it is equally important to scale up business in other States which are yet to pick up, an official said.

Experts have said the government needs to focus on inter-state trading by providing third-party guarantees on the quality of the produce transacted on the platform. Unless an entity is ready to take that responsibility, the objective of e-NAM will not be fulfilled, experts said. “Instead of focussing on more addition of mandis, which could not be achieved, hand-holding of existing mandis should be done to increase transaction over e-NAM,” said a former top official of the Agriculture Ministry.

“Looking at the success of 1000 mandis, e-NAM is now on a path of expansion as announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget (2021-22) to further integrate 1000 more mandis with e-NAM. This will further strengthen the mandis,” the Agriculture Ministry had said last year after the Budget. After the farm laws were brought in, where it was envisioned to take agricultural trade out of mandi areas, the States got confused on e-NAM platform and wanted a clear policy of the Centre, sources said.

According to the e-NAM portal, out of 1,000 mandis integrated under e-NAM, online trading is taking place on 571 market yards.

Guntur in Andhra Pradesh continues totop APMC mandis with a turnover of ₹4,025 crore in April-January, against ₹2,173 crore in the whole of 2020-21. Sirsa mandi in Haryana has been relegated to the third position by Rajasthan’s Jaipur (fruits and vegetables) mandi, which is number two in terms of turnover at ₹ 1,236 crore.

“There should be competition among APMC mandis and local officials of mandis should be awarded at the national level to motivate them for better results on e-NAM. There should also be increased financial support from Centre to e-NAM centres inside mandi to popularise the online platform,” said a Haryana Mandi Board official.