ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Mandi Traders and the Dabba: Online Commodity Futures Markets in India

Through ethnographic interviews with soybean traders in a mandi or market yard in western Madhya Pradesh, this paper explores the intersection of the online commodity futures market created by the new technology with the physical market of commodities, intermediaries, and life in the mandi. Known as "dabba" in local parlance, the online futures market was much maligned by traders who described it as "nothing but speculation". This paper argues that the criticisms made by these traders need to be taken seriously because this group forms the backbone of the agricultural marketing system in India and their lack of participation takes away from the credibility and completeness of information on the online futures market.

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