Karnataka has only two APMCs linked to the e-NAM platform despite it having the largest producer of agricultural products. It is now planning to integrate three new APMCs with e-NAM.
Karnataka has the least number of Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) platforms in the entire country, though it was the first to introduce an e-trading platform for agriculture. Officials said that they got approval for three new Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) to be integrated with e-NAM which includes Tiptur, Savadati, and Channagiri.
e-NAM is an electronic trading portal set up throughout India and most of its states. It was introduced by the Central government in 2016 to unite the agriculture markets throughout the states. It is implemented by the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC).
Karnataka will soon have five APMCs on the e-NAM portal. An official from the Karnataka State Agricultural Marketing Board, said that because 162 APMCs in Karnataka were already integrated with Rashtriya e Market Services Private Limited (ReMS) and e-NAM is fairly new, Karnataka has only two APMCs linked to e-NAM. He said, “e-NAM is our competitor, it is a copy of our ReMS model. Karnataka implemented ReMS at the state level, then the central government implemented e-NAM two years later, nationally. Both the platforms work well.”
e-NAM and ReMS are both electronic trading portals with similar features. ReMS is a state-level portal and e-NAM works nationally. Officials say ReMS has more advanced features than e-NAM.
Another official from the Karnataka State Agricultural Marketing Board who works on the e-NAM portal said that states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and UP had no electronic platforms for marketing earlier, so when e-NAM came they readily accepted it.
The Karnataka State Agricultural Marketing Board acts as an agency that connects the market committees and the government of Karnataka for all round development of agricultural marketing in the state.
e-NAM integrates 1,260 APMC mandis across 22 States and three Union Territories to facilitate online trading of 203 agriculture and horticulture commodities. “It is to enable farmers to realize better remunerative prices for their produce,” says a Press Release posted on Jan. 7, 2023.
It also states that more than 1.74 crore farmers at the end of the year and 2.39 lakh traders have been registered on the e-NAM portal. “A total trade consisting of 69 million metric tonnes of agriculture produce worth Rs. 2.42 lakh crores has been recorded on the e-NAM platform.”
Rajasthan has the highest number of e-NAM platforms with 145 platforms, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh with 136 and 125 platforms respectively.
Many APMCs are still unaware of the online marketing portal. Mahantaya, APMC Merchant Union President, Kushtagi, said that he had no clue what the e-NAM or the ReMS portals were. An agriculture marketing company also does not use the electronic portal and is unaware of the existence of such a portal.
Farmers in Kushtagi, Koppal said that they need better ways to sell their produce to make some profit. Rajappa, a farmer, said, “Based on the weather, we either make just enough to live one season to another or we are in loss. It has been so long since we got any profits.”
Karnataka is the largest producer of coarse cereals, coffee, pepper, and silk in India. Kalburgi and Chincoli are Karnataka’s two APMCs registered with e-NAM. An integrated platform like e-NAM will remove the middleman in the agriculture cycle. “It facilitates direct trade between the farmer and the trader,” stated the release.
The press release stated that e-NAM provides various facilities to farmers such as – access to prevailing commodity prices on the mobile app, GPS-based feature capturing e-NAM mandis and mandi prices within a 100 kms radius along with the route map, advance lot registration, SMS alert on the final bid price of the lot and payment receipt, real-time competitive price bidding through e-NAM—the e-NAM portal was inspired from Karnataka’s ReMS design. An official who works on the e-NAM portal said that the ReMS was created as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in 2014, as a joint venture between NCDEX e-Market Limited, a Bombay-based private company and the government of Karnataka having equal shares.
Shashikumar, an agronomy professor, said that such online marketing platforms are necessary to help farmers directly sell their produce to the buyer.
The Board official said that e-NAM allows cross-border trading between states and is beneficial for farmers across the country and not just the state. So he said they were trying to move to e-NAM. “Interoperability between ReMS and e-NAM is in its pilot testing stage and this will work if state licenses are recognized in both states.” He added that it would take time to migrate from ReMS to e-NAM as it is a slow process.