Soon, auction of pomegranate, onion and tomato to go online in Pune

Parthasarathi Biswas
An onion godown in Pune market. Express

Taking a significant step towards inclusion into the electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM), auction of onion, tomato and pomegranate in Pune s wholesale market is set to go online within the next two months, officials said.
eNAM which aims at creating one nation, one market mandates that markets enter farmers produce online. It also requires formation of lots that is, classifying the produce as per quality and filing their details online.

Under this system, instead of physical bidding for price realisation, traders are expected to bid online as per the information available online. Payments are also expected to be settled online between farmers and traders.
So far, 60 markets in the state are on the eNAM network, most of which are single commodity markets, with lower turnover and businesses.

In Pune s wholesale market, trade in molasses was the first to shift online with the market administrator issuing notices of suspension of licence to traders who had refused to do so.

Director of marketing, Kishore Toshniwal said inclusion of tertiary markets, like Pune and Mumbai, into eNAM have their own set of challenges as majority of trade in such markets are conducted between traders, instead of farmers and traders. Given the multiple commodities they handle the logistics also become difficult to handle, he added.
In the initial phases, we are insisting on three basic things: online gate entry, formation of lots and e-auction, Kishore said. The administrator of Pune market, he added, has been instructed to implement these three aspects within the next two months.

According to officials, markets like Pune and Mumbai are yet to shift online as they deal with voluminous quantities of perishable commodities, like fruits and vegetables. Presence of commission agents, instead of traders, is seen as yet another hurdle for eNAM as the platform does not recognise payment made to such agents.

Commission agents generally represent farmers during the auction process and collect the final payment on their behalf. Farmers, in such an arrangement, receive their share after such agents deduct their fee, which ranges from two to five per cent, depending on the market.

Traders, meanwhile, have decided to adopt a wait-and-watch approach. If the administration fails to implement this properly there would be backlash from the farmers themselves, a trader, not wishing to be identified, said.