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Farmers across India move online, earn over 15% more for their produce

Deepak Chauhan, a farmer in Sultanpur village of Aurangabad’s district, has six acres of land and he plans to buy an acre more. Chauhan is buoyed by the 20 per cent earnings he got additionally by selling his products online directly to Swarup Satkari FPC, a farmers produce company (FPC).

Swarup Satkari, one of the largest FPCs in Sultanpur, has registered around 400 farmers in the region and helps them trade maize, soybean, pulses and other agricultural commodities directly to bulk dealers and corporate consumers. There are more than 300 FPCs registered across Maharashtra that help farmers of all incomes sell their produce online. FPCs in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Punjab too have helped farmers take advantage of online trade that leaves out middle men and earn higher value of their produce.

A number of FPCs have taken membership of the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) to take reference of futures price and make selling decisions.

“We have successfully sold maize and soybean through online platforms through futures and spot auctions. Earlier, we used to sell our produce in distress at the time of harvesting to pay lenders spontaneously. But, our FPC has helped us realize higher. This year alone, we have successfully earned 20 per cent more profits by selling online,” said Chauhan.

Farmers like Chauhan have avoided distress sale, as FPCs and other online partners help them avail funds to pay lenders and sell their produce on highs.

Apart from that, warehousing companies like Star Agriwarehousing & Collateral management Ltd (Star Agri) and National Collateral Management Services Ltd (NCML) have also launched their online commodity trading platforms auction agricultural commodities of their clients to facilitate fetching higher prices. While Star Agri has launched agriBazaar dot com, NCML has introduced the marketyard dot com to facilitate their clients to sell their produce. Another warehousing company National Bulk Handling Corporation (NBHC) is planning to introduce online trading platform to facilitate its clients rule out commission agent and earn higher by selling agricultural produce directly to bulk consumers.

“On AgriBazaar, we have done transaction worth over $1.4 billion and delivered over 1.8 million tonnes of agri produce, largely pulses, grains, spices, apples and walnuts. Moreover, more than 150,000 farmers are associated with us to get benefit of our services,” said Amith Agarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer of Star Agri.

The online platforms by warehousing service providers are different from that of electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM), a Union government initiative.

While eNAM is a mandi-linked service, the platforms developed by warehousing companies are useful for post-mandi services for their clients who deposit goods in these warehouses either for future sale or avail funding from banks and financial institutions to avoid distress sale.

“Our platforms offer clients auctions and other related services. In a major advantage for our clients, we have negotiated with seven banks to allow users settle their accounts even if they have loan outstanding against them,” said Sanjay Kaul, managing director, NCML.

Through online sale, farmers earn at least 15-20 per cent more now than the price they used to fetch earlier. Apart from that, the elimination of the middleman and commissioning agent has helped them get instant cash for their produce.

Source: Maalaimalar