Government views on Rural E Com
Official think tank Niti Aayog is pushing for a legislature to allow direct buying of agriculture produce from farmers, a move meant to help farmers and buyers fetch better prices and do away with middlemen. The model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017, prepared by agriculture ministry in consultation with Niti Aayog, provides for making entire state’s designated area for farmers to sell their produce, single trader licence, single levy of taxes, and electronic auctioning of crop produce.
Big agricultural states such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have responded well to the model Act, officials said. “Majority of states have shown willingness to implement the Act with Punjab likely to roll out as early as its next assembly session,” Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand said.
Agriculture is a state subject and hence it is essential that states support and implement the model Act mooted by the Centre. The existing Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act has not been implemented by majority of states, as a result of which farmers continue to be exploited by the middlemen.
BUT REALITY IS DIFFERENT
More than 60% markets sell agricultural produce below MSP
The price of cereal, paddy and oilseed has crashed in more than 1,700 markets, according to government data
On a vast farmland in Kalajhar mandi of Sangrur district, Punjab, farmers are waiting to negotiate with traders who have rejected their paddy crop infected due to humidity.
Chand Singh, 70, a farmer who owns 4 hectares of farmland in Kalajhar village, says traders rejected 20 tonnes of paddy that he cultivated as it was affected due to humidity. “If traders don’t accept it, I will have to sell it to a private agent at a much lower price than the Minimum Support Price (MSP).”
In July 2018, the MSP of paddy was Rs 1,750 per quintal but agents are paying only Rs 1,300-1,400 per quintal. The MSP is set by the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) to incentivise the cultivators to adopt modern technology and raise productivity while being assured of a particular income.
Due to a longer spell of monsoon at September-end, humidity has affected paddy crops. This may mean that many farmers like Chand Singh may not be able to sell their crop. In the past three weeks, the price of paddy has reportedly dipped below MSP in more than 300 designated markets in India. In more than 60 per cent of designated markets in the country, the prices of cereals, oilseeds and pulses are much lower than MSP.
The market price of major agricultural produce has crashed below MSP, according to Agmarknet, a government agriculture market portal, that records data of more than 2,700 markets. Out of these 2,700 markets, the price has crashed in more than 1,700 major markets for commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds and cotton between October 1 and October 21.
The arrival of kharif crops like paddy, maize, pulses, cotton, groundnut, soybean starts in October. Even after three weeks of arrival, the market price is still quite low. (See table)
In Chhattisgarh, the 'Rice bowl of India', the price of paddy is lower than MSP in 112 markets. Also, many markets in Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal are selling the agricultural produce for prices much less than MSP.
Maize producers’ states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana have the largest share of maize market, but here too the selling price is lower than MSP. The MSP of maize is Rs 1,700 but the market rate is around Rs 1,200-1,400.
Unlike all other players who are currently in the market, we are not eyeing on selling urban or FMCG or small brands to Rural people.
We are providing them a platform or rather a 24x7 Marketplace where they can sell their products at the price of their choice with power to negotiate directly with the buyers.