Small farmers to run national agri market

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New Delhi — Further to its approval for promotion of National Agricultural Market (NAM) through the Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund (ATIF) and launching portals for soil health card, fertiliser quality control system and a participatory guarantee system, the Union government has recently approved a Central Sector scheme for Promotion of National Agriculture Market (NAM) through ATIF for implementation during 2015-16 to 2017-18 with a budget of Rs 200 crores.

The scheme envisages implementation of NAM through Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), which is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC). It provides for a pan-India electronic trading portal that will network selected Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) market yards to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.

NAM is a virtual market but it will have physical markets (mandis) at the back end. The e-platform will be deployed in selected 585 regulated whole sale markets across the country based on the States having carried out prior reforms in their marketing laws in respect of a single license to be valid across the State, single point levy of market fee and provision for electronic auction as a mode for price discovery.

DAC will meet expenses on software and its customization to the State specific requirements. In addition, DAC will also give one time grant up to Rs 30.00 lakh per Mandi towards fixed cost for related equipment/ infrastructure.

Initially, trading through the e-platform would cover trading of staples, such as cereals, pulses and oilseeds. Trading in fresh produce including fruits and vegetables will be considered once trading in staples has been smoothly established.

The selected APMC market yards that are integrated with the e-platform will offer the farmers both the choice to place their produce for sale either to the traders physically present in the mandi or else post the sale details on the on-line portal available in the same market yard for sale locally as well as outside the APMC or even within the physical boundary of the State.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya in Rajya Sabha yesterday.