It’s no doubt one of the most marquee developments in the agricultural field in India till date. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the National Agriculture Market portal (eNAM). In this initial phase it will integrate 21 mandis across eight states for online trading of farm produce and commodities. The Prime Minister targeting to double the income of farm workers said ‘agriculture sector needs to be seen in a holistic manner to provide maximum benefit to the farmers.’
This is a particularly pertinent issue in a scenario where agricultural output has kind of stagnated despite a large resource allocation. Around 14 crore hectares of land is being used for agricultural purpose. However the relative growth has remained paltry at less than 5%. Infact most times the percent of overall growth is seen between 3-4%. Production too has more or less been constant around 14-15 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. This poor agriculture growth has resulted in massive indebtedness amongst farmers and even led to several thousand committing suicide every year.
One key reason for this is the now outdated and faulty working module of the APMC or the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees. Instead of being the facilitators, they have acted as hindrances in the path of free trade. The launch of this electronic platform seeks to resolve this major roadblock and usher in a new wave of development. In the Prime Minister’s words, “the electronic market will enable the farmer to get good price for his produce and also empower him to decide what to sell and whom to sell.”
The first phase covers 21 mandis in eight major states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The target is to scale it up to 585 mandis or APMCs in the next three years. Our country has a total of 2,477 principal mandis and 4,843 sub-markets created by the APMCs. The corpus allocated for this is around Rs 200 crore that is expected to be spent over the next 3 years.
Constructive empowerment with a deeply scientific approach looks to be the road forward for the Indian agricultural sector. However unhindered execution is the key link that the Government needs to ensure at every step for absolute results.