States should dismantle APMCs, adopt eNAM for farmers' benefit: Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said states are being cajoled to reject the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and adopt electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) so that farmers get better price for their produce. e-NAM is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
e-NAM has been promoted very much by the union government and many states have agreed also to take it up at their level, she said at an event organised by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) here. "Together with this we're also making sure that the states are cajoled to reject APMCs. It has served its purpose at one time there's no doubt. But today there are many difficulties associated with the agricultural produce market committee, which at every state level has become not so efficient in helping the farmers find better price points for their produce," she said.
"We are talking with states to sort of dismantle that and move towards e-NAM for farmers," she added. So far, 21 e-NAM mandis of eight states namely Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh had joined hands to start inter-state trade on e-NAM.
As many as 136 inter-state transactions and 14 commodities which include vegetables, pulses, cereals, oilseeds, spices etc, have been traded under inter-state trade through e-NAM platform in a short span of time. Initially started with 25 commodities, e-trade facilities have been provided on 124 commodities with tradable parameters on e-NAM portal.
Through inter-state trade, farmers get better market access, more buyers/ traders and realise better prices for their produce. The union finance minister also said that she had in the Budget announced formation of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) so that farmers have easy access to institutional finance.
FPOs are largely those cluster or groups of farmers who are being brought together so that credit and other assistance can be extended to them and their marketing issues are also addressed with a clear objective of making the produce earn the money that it should be, she added. Sitharaman said the government is looking at acknowledging a more than proportionate dependence on rural life and agriculture and further emphasised the immediate need for taking up water management and water-related stress points.
She emphasised that there is a need for the farmers contributing in solar energy generation, participation in wind energy, installing solar panels in his farms, etc and also to become an Urjadaata from Annadata. Speaking on the occasion, NABARD chairman said India provides USD 200 billion agriculture credit every year to small and marginal farmers.
There will be a huge traction when the farmers will anchor the value chain, which in turn will augment the value chain funding, he said, adding that these inclusive measures aided by technology interventions would bolster financial inclusion and rural financing efforts. Bhanwala also announced that NABARD's largest SHG-Bank Linkage Programme benefiting millions of rural women will soon move to a digital platform, a move which will revolutionise the lending to women SHGs.
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