In villages of Karnataka, farmers have become internet-savvy. They sell their produce online, browse through prices quoted by traders, accept the one that suits them the best, and get paid online.
The farmers in Karnataka have taken their business online, all thanks to the Unified Marketing Platform (UMP), an initiative by the state government. Launched in 2014 by the Rashtriya e-Market Services (ReMS), it facilitates interaction between traders and farmers.
For farmers, middlemen have always been a hindrance. They eat up almost 75% of the final price, leaving very little for the farmers. An Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), established by state governments, often has the disadvantage of middlemen deciding the price of the produce.
But the UMP has managed to eliminate middlemen from the equation all together. Traders can quote product prices online, which the farmers then have a right to reject if it isn’t satisfactory.
This ensures that farmers also have a wider reach.
Besides this, traders often delay payments, sometimes up to weeks or months. Through UMP, farmers now receive SMS alerts from their banks when transactions have been confirmed. The payment is almost immediate.
Currently, almost 103 APMCs have been integrated into the UMP system, out of 157. According to the ReMS, the rest of the APMCs would also be integrated in a year.
About 1.4 million farmers have been registered with the system. For those who are still new to the idea, the ReMS provides training through members of the APMC. With an aim of training at least 200 farmers from every village, the outreach could be tremendous.
Talking about the success of the UMP, R. Manoj, managing director of the Rashtriya e-Marketing Service (ReMS) said to Deccan Chronicle, “The success of this new online marketing system has created ripples and will revolutionise the agricultural sector in the country, greatly benefiting poor farmers and other stakeholders in agricultural markets.”
The UMP has been held in high regard for its transparency and efficiency. It also helped simplify procedures for procuring licenses. Seeing how this model works wonders for farmers, many other states have called for replicating the system. In Andhra Pradesh, 10 of its major markets have implemented the model.