National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) is an electronic trading site that connects the current Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis to form a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
The Central Government fully funds e-NAM, which is implemented by the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
It is an innovative agricultural marketing initiative that sought to improve farmers’ digital accessibility to a large number of markets and buyers, as well as to increase transparency in trade transactions.
It further improves price discovery mechanisms, quality commensurate price realisation, and developing the concept of “One Nation, One Market” for agricultural produce.
The e-NAM portal serves as a one-stop shop for all APMC-related information and services. This comprises commodity arrivals, quality and pricing, buy and sell offers, and e-payment settlement directly into farmers’ accounts.
- Online Trading:
- e-NAM provides a digital platform for farmers, traders, and purchasers to undertake agricultural commodity trading online.
- It does away with the need for consumers to be physically present in mandis (marketplaces) and allows them to trade from anywhere using a computer or mobile device.
- Single Market:
- By connecting different agricultural mandis across the country, e-NAM aspires to create a unified national market.
- It gives farmers access to multiple markets and consumers outside of their area, giving them more market prospects.
- Transparent Price Discovery:
- The platform enables transparent price discovery by giving real-time information on commodity prices and arrivals in various markets. This enables farmers to make informed sales decisions and assures fair market prices.
- In the trading process, e-NAM also eliminates intermediaries and many layers of middlemen. Farmers benefit from lower transaction costs and higher prices for their produce as a result.
- Quality Testing and Grading:
- The platform offers agricultural commodities quality testing and grading services.
- This ensures that purchasers obtain high-quality goods and motivates farmers to improve their product quality.
- The National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform of Platforms (POP) was launched in 2022. Farmers will be able to sell their produce outside of their state borders as a result of its implementation.
- This would improve farmers’ digital access to a wider range of marketplaces, buyers, and service providers, as well as boost transparency in commercial transactions.
- POP covers 41 service providers from various platforms who provide various value chain services such as trade, quality inspections, warehousing, finance, market information, transportation, and so on.
- On-Time Payments:
- e-NAM ensures that farmers are paid on time for their sold produce. Payments are transferred straight to farmers’ bank accounts, which eliminates delays and lowers the possibility of payment failures.
- Supportive Infrastructure:
- e-NAM wants to improve agricultural marketing infrastructure by constructing weighbridges, warehouses, and cold storage facilities in mandis. This aids in the preservation and storage of agricultural produce.
- Warehouse based trading module was also launched in e-NAM to facilitate trade from warehouses based on e-NWR (electronicNegotiable Warehouse Receipt).
- Mobile App:
- e-NAM has a mobile app that allows users to access the platform and trade while they are on the go. The app includes features such as bidding, price alerts, and market information.
- During the COVID-19 epidemic, the e-NAM platform/mobile application was strengthened by the addition of an FPO (Farmer Producer Organisation) trading module in e-NAM, allowing FPOs to trade their products without taking them to the APMC.
- AI-powered assaying tools have been included in the e-NAM platform.
- Market Integration:
- The goal of e-NAM is to combine various agricultural marketplaces (mandis) across the country into a single national market.
- This connection enables efficient price discovery and assures pricing consistency across regions, which benefits both farmers and buyers.
- In 2019, E-NAM started inter-State trading between mandis from two separate states. Previously, trading took place either within the APMC or between two APMCs located in the same state.
- Till December 2022, 1260 mandis of 22 States and 03 UTs have been integrated into the e-NAM platform.
- Transparent Price Discovery:
- Transparency in the agricultural marketing system is one of the key goals of e-NAM.
- The programme provides real-time commodity price information, allowing farmers to make informed decisions about selling their produce.
- Transparent price discovery eliminates exploitation and ensures farmers receive fair market prices.
- Reduction of Intermediaries:
- e-NAM eliminates intermediaries and many layers of middlemen in the agriculture supply chain.
- Farmers benefit from lower transaction costs and higher price realisation.
- According to official data, the average reduction in intermediaries in e-NAM mandis is around 2-3, resulting in a higher income for farmers.
- Digital Transformation and Efficiency:
- e-NAM has aided in the digital transformation of India’s agricultural markets. The platform includes features like online bidding, e-payment, and electronic weighing, which make the trade process more efficient and less prone to human error.
- This digitization streamlines the entire value chain, resulting in speedier transactions, less paperwork, and overall efficiency gains.
- According to official data, e-NAM has cut transaction times from 8-10 hours to 30 minutes, resulting in speedier and more efficient trading .
- The electronic weighing equipment at the e-NAM mandis has boosted the accuracy and transparency of produce weighing, decreasing conflicts and disagreements.
- Quality Standardisation and Grading:
- e-NAM emphasises agricultural commodity quality standardisation and grading. The network offers quality testing and certification services, guaranteeing that customers receive the desired grade of produce.
- This emphasis on quality has resulted in increased market acceptance of Indian agricultural products, both domestically and globally.
- As per official data, the platform has facilitated the issuance of over 8.47 lakh (847,000) electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipts (eNWRs), providing assurance of quality and storage to buyers and enabling farmers to access credit against their stored produce.
- Data-Driven Decision-Making:
- Commodity prices, arrivals, and trading patterns are all generated by e-NAM. This information can be analysed to learn about market trends, demand-supply dynamics, and buyer preferences.
- Data-driven decision-making can assist farmers, traders, and policymakers in making educated decisions about production planning, market strategy, and policy interventions.
- On the e-NAM platform, more than 1.75 crore farmers and 2.43 lakh traders have registered (as of March 31, 2023). 2,575 FPOs have been added to the e-NAM platform.
- A trade value of 2.50 lakh crore has been recorded on the e-NAM platform. As of March 16, 2023, 1361 mandis from 23 states and four UTs were integrated with the e-NAM platform.
- Digital India Award 2022: The Ministry of Agriculture’s Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) programme received the Platinum Award (1st) in the Digital Empowerment of Citizens Category.
e-NAM: Implementation challenges
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, there are 6,946 regulated wholesale APMC mandis as of March 2018. According to data from the e-NAM website, 1,000 mandis (14%) are integrated across 18 states and three union territories. This excludes 5,946 mandis from the equation. ‘One Nation, One Market’ is still a long way off.
- Infrastructure and connectivity:
- One of the most difficult obstacles in adopting e-NAM is the lack of reliable internet connectivity, particularly in rural areas with agricultural markets.
- According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India’s rural teledensity was 60.92% in March 2021, while urban teledensity was 143.39%.
- Inadequate Digital Infrastructure:
- Many agricultural mandis lack the infrastructure necessary for flawless digital transactions, such as proper computer systems, internet access, and electronic weighing devices.
- Upgrading the infrastructure in all of the country’s mandis remains a serious task.
- Awareness and Training:
- Many farmers, particularly those in distant or less technologically sophisticated areas, may be unaware of the e-NAM platform and its benefits.
- Farmers’ participation in online commerce can be hampered by a lack of understanding and sufficient training on how to use the digital platform.
- Resistance to change:
- India’s traditional agriculture marketing system is heavily established in physical trading practices and face-to-face contacts.
- Some stakeholders, such as farmers, traders, and commission agents, may be resistant to the shift to online trading because of worries about the digital platform, job security issues, or opposition to changes in established practices.
- Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Laws and Regulations:
- Agriculture is a state topic in India, and each state has its own set of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) laws and regulations.
- It can be difficult to harmonise these disparate legislation and ensure uniform application throughout all states.
- Some states have been sluggish to adopt and implement the reforms required to integrate their mandis with the e-NAM platform.
- Commodity Coverage Is Limited:
- While e-NAM covers a large range of commodities, there are certain gaps in commodity coverage.
- Fruits and vegetables, for example, are high-value and perishable commodities that have not yet been fully integrated into the platform.
- Extending coverage to include more commodities can improve e-NAM’s efficacy and reach.
- Technical Issues and User Interface:
- The e-NAM platform has had technical issues as well as user interface and experience concerns.
- These obstacles can influence user uptake and happiness, particularly for farmers and dealers who may have minimal digital literacy or expertise.
- Price Discovery and Transparency:
- Although e-NAM attempts to promote transparent price discovery, there have been cases of price manipulation and collusion among dealers.
- Ensuring appropriate monitoring methods and resolving any malpractices that undermine the intended benefits of e-NAM remains a challenge.
e-NAM: Way Ahead
To address the challenges faced by farmers in the Agri-value chain, eNAM must provide appropriate solutions through holistic development in the marketing system, including reforms such as:
- To popularise the eNAM throughout the state and the country, a scientific approach to sensitization must be developed.
- Enhancing digital infrastructure and connection is critical to ensuring seamless platform access. This includes improving internet connectivity in remote areas as well as modernising mandis hardware and software systems.
- Implementing awareness campaigns and training programmes will assist in educating farmers, merchants, and other stakeholders about the benefits of e-NAM and how to successfully use the platform.
- For smooth integration, policy reforms and uniform application of APMC rules across states are also required.