In a bid to promote real online trading of agriculture commodities, the Centre has asked states to stop showing purchase of grain under the minimum support price (MSP) operations as transactions through the electronic-National Agriculture Market (eNAM) from October 1. Sources told FE that showing the government’s own MSP operations carried out on behalf of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) as eNAM sales is what helped a few states like Haryana to report relative progress on this pet project of the Modi government. “There should be 100% online bidding of commodities arriving in the mandis. The portal (eNAM) has been provisioned to not allow any offline entries post 30.9.2017,” an agriculture ministry note has said.
According to an official of Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board, around 60% of `14,063-crore trade captured on eNAM platform in the state since the project’s launch is nothing but the MSP operations for paddy and wheat carried out by the state government agencies on behalf of FCI. At 40% of the total wholesale trade in farm goods, Haryana’s eNAM sales have been the highest in the country. Sources said that after the procurement of paddy and wheat under MSP from farmers, the same was entered into eNAM portal manually.
Since eNAM launch in April last year, hardly 5% of the wholesale trade in farm commodities has shifted to it. As far as inter-mandi/inter-state eNAM trade is concerned, it has remained a non-starter, meaning the objective of empowering farmers with a wider buyer base hasn’t been met. Only 13 states (325 mandis) have come on board eNAM that too partially. “Not a single state, among those that have joined e-NAM, has allowed traders from outside to participate in electronic bidding on e-NAM. In fact, most states have not even permitted traders in other districts of the same state to participate in e-NAM trading outside their own district,” said Pravesh Sharma, former MD of Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium. Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry has asked the states to install quality assaying laboratories at mandis those are part of eNAM platform so that commodities are trades on the basis of quality.
“Assaying-based trading will justify differential prices for different lots, making the farmer aware of the importance of grading and improved quality of produce brought to the mandis,” according to the agriculture ministry note. According to official data, of the total eNAM (read intra-mandi electronic trade) of Rs 31,458 crore so far, Haryana topped with Rs 14, 062 crore, followed by Telangana (`10,804 crore), Gujarat (Rs 3,698 crore) and Uttar Pradesh (Rs 1,319 crore).