Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Markets go online

Andhra Pradesh made a congressional acceptance for E-Trading on Agricultural and livestock produces by amending the Agriculture produce market committee act (APMC). This is a good trend, to integrate the farmers to electronic markets with transparency in prevailing prices. The E- Trading has been implementing in Delhi, Gujarat, Madhyapradesh, Utter Pradesh and Tamil nadu markets. Some of the big horticulture markets like Azadpur mandi in New Delhi and Apple markets in Himachal Pradesh also have been in online trading since several years. Most of the state governments have APMC act to regulate the agriculture produce markets in terms of transparency in transactions, coordinate the demand and supplies and encourage the farmers to produce more. In India, we have 7557 regulated markets consist of 2428 principal markets and 5129 sub yards.

Reforms in agriculture marketing are inevitable process for restructuring the agriculture sector, it’s necessary to upgrade our marketing systems and infrastructure to connect with nationwide markets in the liberalization of our trade policies. Setting up an electronic network among the physical markets is certainly improves the linkage between farmers, food processors and retailers and that can mitigate the mediators’ involvement. Some of the corporate companies have taken the initiative to create the market awareness in farmers i.e. ITC limited has been working with e-choupal Kiosks over 40,000 villages which give the information on weather, modern farm practices and market information. Multi Commodity of Exchange India ltd (MCX) has started the Gramin Suvidha Kendra (GSK) kiosks in 3 northern states which provide the information on warehousing, quality testing, expert advices and MCX spot and futures prices of agriculture produces.

The E-trading system shares the nationwide commodity exchange information to the farmers, so that they can sell their produces according to their choice of market/price and the buyers also can choose the products from different markets with specified quality /quantity. In the E-trading, the regulated markets are connected with National APMC and the trading operations are conducted by the APMC’s licensed traders. Ticker boards would be placed at APMCs which display the current prices of different commodities in different markets and the farmers can select their choices. Some of the markets are supported by the bankers’ online banking facility to manage the trading among the buyers and farmers. The National APMC has to take the trade approval from respective state government on selective commodities. So far, the trading in existing APMCs is on spot basis only and in future the markets may go on forwards trading.

Government needs to give importance to both the farmers and industry equally, when ever the market infrastructure improves then the market efficiency gets progress. If the trading system goes on pace….the storage, transport and processing facilities have to be in the supporting standards but our markets are lacking with modern agri-infrastructure. There is a massive investment expected in the post harvest facilities, the government has to encourage Public Private Partnership model in agriculture marketing and extension activities. Nevertheless, E- Trading is an impressive reform in agriculture markets in Andhra Pradesh but the main drawback of Indian farmers is that they are qualified with mediocre education. I hope, one day the Indian farmer hookup the computer and market his produces directly on internet.
FYI: Agricultural Marketing Information Network  & National Agriculture Produce market Committee
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