MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has decided to digitise the functioning of private wholesale vegetable markets for better transparency and to prevent farmers from being cheated while selling their produce.
The Centre had earlier launched a pan-India electronic trading portal, called e-NAM (National Agriculture Market), to facilitate farmers, traders, buyers, exporters and processors with a common platform for trading commodities.
The e-NAM portal keeps a database of the movement of vegetable produce, its distribution, prices and fluctuations.
The Maharashtra government is now planning to bring the private markets under the ambit of e-NAM, while it is also digitising the functioning of some of the major Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) in the state.
"There are around 60 major APMCs in Maharashtra which are being digitised.
All the farmers, traders and commission agents working there are shifting to the e-NAM platform.
We have now also decided to make the e-NAM mandatory for private APMCs," the state's cooperation minister, Subhash Deshmukh, told PTI.
More than 30 APMCs have already started the e-auction of the daily produce while 17 market committees having been conducting the quality testing of vegetables and produce supplied there every day, he said.
As many as 2,24,487 farmers, 7,570 traders and 6,992 commission agents have so far registered on the e-NAM portal, said the minister.
"An APMC has a turnover of some hundreds of crores.
Once it comes on the e-NAM platform, all the transactions will become transparent and activities like cheating farmers by tampering the weighing machines will be stopped," he said.
Maharashtra has private agriculture markets in Nashik, Vani in Yavatmal, Nanded, Washim and Buldhana.
"The state has also launched weekly markets for farmers to sell their fruits and vegetables.
Now we want the daily transactions of these markets also to be digital, instead of the manual receipts," a senior official from the cooperation department said.
The state has 307 APMCs, including both major and small ones, the turnover of which is around Rs 66,000 crore annually.
Besides, there are 45 private markets, which do a business of around Rs 4,500 crore in a year.
"If all these transactions go online, it will save a huge cost and check manipulation of prices," Deshmukh said.
The collective turnover of all the agriculture markets in Maharashtra is worth over Rs 1 lakh crore, the official from the cooperation department said.
There are 40,000 commission agents in Maharashtra, who daily sit in the APMCs and regulate the supply and demand of vegetables, fruits and food grains, he added.