The agricultural sector is vital for the Indian economy and it is evident that reforming agricultural markets and setting up electronic mandis (e-Mandis) will make a significant change. The existence of e-Mandis has enabled the integration of electronic trading platforms with physical mandis. This nationwide electronic trading portal can link all the existing Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) mandis together which will, in turn, create a unified national online market for agricultural commodities.
The electronic trading platforms will help all value chain participants in the agri sector, to buy or sell their agricultural produce effortlessly and get a better reach. A trader can get a single license that would be valid across all markets in the state. An e-Mandi can provide a single-window service to many features such as arrivals of different commodities, information on prices, better transparency and accountability, etc. Theoretically speaking farmers can buy and sell with the entire nation using the online trading platform, rendering dealing with the local traders in the physical market obsolete. They can view prices across the electronic markets which in turn helps price discovery and not being at the mercy of unscrupulous local traders.
FPOs should be encouraged, even more, to participate to sell their produce on the e-Mandi platforms, by giving them exclusive training. A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model can also be encouraged so that private players can come on board and help develop the infrastructure facilities inside the mandi. Given the current reforms in agricultural marketing, it can be recommended that state governments should implement the e-Mandi concept at all the physical markets in each state, which can lead to an increase in competition, and the farmers would ultimately get the most benefits from it.
There are several positive impacts on farmer’s participation, reduction in the number of intermediaries, price transparency, price discovery, creation of new markets and balanced development across the states due to a unified agriculture market. e-Mandis would be the catalyst that would help ensure a bright future for the Indian farmer.