Pune gets the first e-Kisan mandi; NAFED to set up several more

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Pulses being sold in a market in India.

The country’s first e-kisan mandi became operational in Pune last week, reports Financial Express. The Pune facility includes around 30 FPCs in Pune district. Traders or retail market chains will be registered on the mandi for making online purchases from farmers.

NAFED’s arm, Federation of Farmer Producer Organisations and Aggregators (FIFA) entered into a 51:49% joint venture with Maharashtra Farmers Producer Company (Maha FPC), the umbrella organisation of the state’s farmer producer companies for the venture.

The Financial Express report mentions rolling out 100-odd such facilities over the next six to nine months across the country. Each one is expected to report a turnover of Rs 100-150 crore annually, it says.

According to the plan, the FPCs or other farmer groups will run the facility on NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation)-owned lands. NAFED managing director Sanjeev Kumar Chadha told Financial Express,  “Unlike e-NAM, which focuses on APMCs, the e-kisan mandis will seek to bring farmers, agri-producers, traders and small buyers on a common platform for trading agricultural commodities. An online electronic market will not work unless it is accompanied by proper physical infrastructure. Physical sorting and grading facilities will be established to help farmers get access to an efficient price discovery mechanism.”

While the next two e-kisan mandis will come up in Mumbai and Nashik, the initiative would then be expanded to Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Jharkhand, he added. Under the model, the FPCs, which will run the e-kisan mandis, will charge 1-1.5% of the total turnover as service charge and the proceeds thereof will be used to meet operational expenses (salaries, electricity and water bills and local taxes, etc).

NAFED would invest in setting up warehouses and cold storage at the e-kisan hubs in addition to providing drying, sorting and grading facilities. “This means that farmers no longer have to sell in distress and can get their agri-produce dried, cleaned and graded. They can also keep perishables in cold storage and bring it out when prices are more remunerative,” Chadha said.

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