In April, a national portal will bring together farmers and others in the agriculture industry. The National Agricultural Market (NAM) will officially launch on April 14. Its aim is to ensure that farmers around the country have a one-stop easy access to buy or sell machinery, agri-products, access market data and retailers. Farmers can also fix prices with traders, without the hassle of middlemen and price cuts.
The Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) will consolidate about 585 regulated markets into the scheme.
In the current plan, about 400 mandis will be integrated first by the end of 2016-17, and 185 in the next fiscal year.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
In July 2015, the government allotted a budget of Rs 200 crores for this scheme after approving it, through the Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund (ATIF).
The portal is being set up by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW). In a press release statement, Agriculture Minister Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundaria said, “DAC&FW will also provide grant as one time fixed cost for related equipment / infrastructure subject to the ceiling of Rs.30.00 lakh per Mandi.” He added, “State Governments will propose the regulated markets which are to be integrated with NAM.”
In India’s market, there’s a high demand for agricultural products, but their supply is sparse and sometimes inaccessible to certain sections of the market. In a report by the National Farmers Commission in 2004, a recommendation was set out that a regulated market should be made available to farmers within a radius of 5 kilometres. But, at present, there’s a regulated market available within an average distance of 487 kilometres. Besides this, markets for specific tools and commodities are limited.
The NAM will eliminate these problems, to support and keep up with the pace of the growing market.
“It is proposed to launch NAM on April 14, 2016, on pilot basis, tentatively in 20 mandis across eight states,” Kundaria said. Following this, the first phase of 200 markets integration will be completed by September 2016.
Besides this, the government is also focusing on developing markets equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure. They are also encouraging the private sector to engage more with the market, while also pushing for direct marketing and contract farming.