A revolutionary shift
With its aim of transforming the traditional Indian agri-business model, the eNAM initiative has come a long way in achieving the goal of ‘One Nation-One Market’ for agriculture
A pan-India electronic trading portal, eNAM, was launched on April 14, 2016, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the aim of networking the existing mandis to 'One Nation-One Market' for agricultural commodities in India. As it celebrates its 4th-anniversary, eNAM (electronic National Agriculture Market), one of the most successful of Digital India's initiatives, has come a long way. Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the lead agency for implementing eNAM under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare, Government of India. SFAC works with a Vision of Promoting agri-businesses by encouraging institutional and private sector investments and linkages to ensure the empowerment of all farmers in the country.
The NAM Portal provides a single-window service for all APMC related information and services which includes commodity arrivals, quality and prices, provision to respond to trade offers and electronic payment settlement directly into farmers' account. This online market aims at reducing transaction costs, bridge information asymmetries and help in expanding market access for farmers.
At present, a network of 585 mandis is integrated with eNAM across 16 states and 2 UTs, with a user base of 1.66 crore farmers, 1.28 lakh traders and 70,934 commission agents. As of March 31, 2020, the total volume of 3.39 Crore MT and 37 Lakh individual units(Bamboo and Coconut), collectively worth approximately Rs 1 lakh crore has been traded on the eNAM platform. The compound average growth rate (CAGR) in the last four years has been 28 per cent and 18 per cent in value and volume terms respectively. Further, digital transactions of more than Rs 662 crore have been carried out during eNAM transactions, benefitting more than 1,17,849 farmers. eNAM facilitates trade beyond mandi/ state borders and a total of 228 mandis participated in inter-mandi trade across 12 states whereas 13 states have participated in the inter-state trade allowing farmers to interact directly with traders beyond the boundaries of designated mandi yards.
An average of 3.6 bids has been made for each lot in this financial year. An increased average bid per lot is an indicator of increase in competitiveness amongst buyers, thereby assuring better price discovery to the farmers to boost their income. Also, quality assaying has gained a significant pace which shows that farmers would obtain prices based on the quality of their produce. Till date, about 83.24 lakh lots have been assayed on eNAM. At present, 150 commodities, including food grains, oilseeds, fibres, vegetables and fruits are traded on eNAM. Also, about 977 FPOs are integrated with eNAM platform, out of which 10 per cent of FPOs have already traded on the platform.
The features available on eNAM platform benefit various stakeholders, especially farmers. A robust mobile app and website is available in nine languages and is equipped with a GPS based mandi locator for searching mandis within a radius of 100 kilometres. Using eNAM, farmers can track the progress of bids for their lot being traded through mobile and they can also get real-time information about prevailing commodity prices in nearby mandis. It is also enabled with advanced gate entry, sampling and assaying reports. Weighbridges and electronic weighing scales have been integrated with eNAM platform to have transparency and error-free weighing of their commodity. Online payment to farmers by traders can also be done through the mobile app via BHIM UPI, debit card and NEFT mode.
Traders can use advance features like viewing quality certificate, push notification, bunching of invoices, shopping cart features, etc. Also, a 360-degree image of commodity lots via mobile is made available for better decision making while online bidding, using eNAM mobile app. APMC official, traders and other stakeholders have been trained to assist in catalysing the digital transformation of mandi operations. Also, a Business Intelligence (BI) dashboard is available for better monitoring and decision making for the APMC Officials.
During the testing times and lockdown period of the COVID-19 crisis, this transformational scheme of the Government of India, eNAM has provided a unique trading platform which not only helps in decongesting the APMC premises, through a transparent system of assaying, electronic bidding and online payment facility but also ensures better and remunerative prices to the farmers. In addition to the constant feed-back based improvements in the eNam platform over the last couple of years, the following three features were launched on April 2, 2020, enhancing the effectiveness of eNAM to help mitigate the unprecedented nature of challenges faced by stakeholders during the lockdown-
FPO module: This module is developed to allow FPOs for uploading of details of produce from their collection centres. This will not only decongest the mandis but also reduce the logistics cost for the FPOs and hence, benefit the farmers in due time.
Warehouse (eNWR) based trading: It provides immediate relief for the rabi crop farmers due to logistics challenges in the short run due to COVID-19. This module enables small and marginal farmers to directly trade their stored produce from selected WDRA registered warehouses which are declared deemed markets by the State. So far, Telangana (14 warehouses) and Andhra Pradesh (23 warehouses) have declared designated warehouses as deemed markets. SFAC is working with state governments to motivate them to bring in similar notifications.
Logistics module: It links logistic aggregators' platforms with eNAM platform. Traders can use the link to navigate to the logistics service provider's website and avail the offerings of registered service providers. Currently, more than 7.76 lakh trucks are available with the eNAM platform. This will help in seamless transportation of agriculture produce at competitive rates.
eNAM Call Centre: The call centre- 18002700224 has been strengthened and expanded in order to facilitate logistics arrangements and related grievances for farmers/FPOs/traders.
Looking to the success of eNAM in the 585 mandis targeted in phase -1, it is now on its path of expansion. eNAM will soon cover an additional 415 mandis, which will take the total number of eNAM mandis to 1,000 across 21 states/UTs, moving further towards "One Nation-One Market" for agricultural commodities in India. Also, with the objective of achieving real-time payments to farmers, eNAM would soon be bringing on-board more banks to broad base farmers' and traders' banking options.
eNAM is bringing transformational changes to the way traditional agri-business was conducted in the country and has emerged as a dynamic solution for farmers and other stakeholders to conduct their business. With its value-added services, eNAM as a whole has evolved as a robust and advanced platform to achieve the dream of removing information asymmetries and help farmers get competitive and remunerative prices for their produce.
The writer is the Managing Director of SFAC. Views expressed are strictly personal