eNAM: The Andhra Pradesh experience

While many States are still finding it tough, Andhra Pradesh has successfully linked many of its mandis to eNAM. B Rajasekhar, Special Chief Secretary, Agriculture, Andhra Pradesh, spoke to BusinessLine on how the State ensured a smooth transition for farmers and traders into the new platform. Excerpts:

How was AP able to find success in eNAM?

First and foremost, we had political commitment, including from the Chief Minister (Chandrababu Naidu). So that takes care of a lot of things. We initiated eNAM in about 21 APMCs (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee) initially. It was a struggle because the vested interests of traders and commission agents were well-entrenched. In the initial days, there was a lot of resistance because once you are in the system (eNAM), you have to pay taxes. But the CM gave us his full support. So even when ruling party MLAs were against it, we used help from the Chief Minister’s office to quell the dissent.

Ours was a twin strategy; we confronted the issue with both the stumbling blocks — traders and commission agents. We didn’t tell them that they are going to be eliminated; we said: “You have to fall in line.”

We conducted several meetings at the ministerial level with various associations and unions, and dangled the carrots. We told them that they would get benefits, but also made it very clear that this had the mandate of the CM and the PM — “we will be pushing this whether you like it or not.”

Simultaneously, we demonstrated to the farmers that eNAM is ultimately beneficial to them and that they can get a better price.

Duggirala was a market with no commission agents; so that was our first choice for the pilot eNAM centre. We opened centres at Adoni and Kurnool, too. Those markets had some open bids, which where moved to online bidding. These places, too, started showing some good results.

Parallely, we employed KPMG for project management to analyse and identify the bottlenecks in the whole value chain and found that the pain points for the farmers were: lack of assaying and grading infrastructure.

Value addition wasn’t a custom in the mandis. The farmers brought the produce as it was, and so quoting lack of quality in the lot, traders quoted low prices.

We demonstrated to the farmers that a small intervention such as cleaning and grading before getting the lot to the market would give them that extra money. We started convincing them that if they first have price discovery within the market, we can then slowly move to assaying, with which they can move the produce inter-mandi. The next obvious step would be going for a larger market, which will lead to even better price discovery.

It seems to be working now, but to be fair to the various stakeholders at the mandis, we found the SFAC (Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium) being not that flexible. It is too idealistic for the Centre to ask everyone to implement eNAM from day one. So we have been asking for some concessions such as giving more time for traders to make online payments, but SFAC has been very rigid. Otherwise, by this time, we would have made more progress.

Flexibility in what sense?

Traders have been requesting 15 days of credit period instead of payment within 24 hours.

Read the rest of this article by Signing up for Portfolio.It's completely free!

What You'll Get





Related

MORE FROM BUSINESSLINE


 Getting recommendations just for you...
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor