e-NAM: An efficient medium of wholesale trade during COVID-19
e-NAM i.e., the National Agriculture Market is a pan-India electronic trading (e-trading) portal which seeks to network the existing physically regulated wholesale market (known as APMC market) through a virtual platform to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities. This platform promotes better marketing opportunities for the farmers to sell their produce through online competitive and transparent price discovery system and online payment facility. It also promotes prices commensurate with quality of produce. It provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services. This includes commodity arrivals, quality and prices, buy and sell offers and e-payment settlement directly into farmers’ account, among other services.
Farmers can access the information on e-NAM easily through their mobile phones from anywhere. This online trading platform aims at reducing transaction costs, bridging information asymmetry and helps in expanding the market access for farmers.
Last month, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar had launched new features of the e-NAM platform to strengthen agriculture marketing by farmers which will reduce their need to physically come to wholesale mandis for selling their harvested produce, at a time when there is critical need to de-congest mandis to effectively fight against COVID-19.
These software modules are namely –
(i) Warehouse-based trading module in e-NAM software to facilitate trade from warehouses based on e-NWR
(ii) FPO trading module in e-NAM whereby, FPOs can trade their produce from their collection center without bringing the produce to APMC.
In addition to facilitating inter-mandi and inter-state trade at this juncture, an enhanced version of logistic module has been released whereby aggregators of transport logistic platforms have on boarded, which helps users to avail track-able transport facilities for transporting their produce.
Earlier, 785 mandis were integrated with e-NAM across 17 states and 2 UTs, with a user base of 1.66 crore farmers, 1.30 lakh traders and 71,911 commission agents. As of 9 May 2020, the total volume of 3.43 crore metric tonnes and 37.93 lakh numbers (Bamboo and Coconut) collectively worth more than INR 1 lakh crore, has been traded on the e-NAM platform. Digital payments worth INR 708 crore have been done via e-NAM, benefiting more than 1.25 lakh farmers. At present, 150 commodities, including food grains, oil-seeds, fibers, vegetables and fruits, are being traded on e-NAM. More than 1,005 FPOs have been registered on the platform and have traded 2,900 metric tonnes of agri-produce worth INR 7.92 crore.
To de-congest mandis during the COVID-19 lockdown, FPO trade module, logistics module and e-NWR based warehouse module were also launched by the Union Agriculture Minister on 2 April 2020.