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e-Platform for National Agricultural Market

Agricultural markets are characterised by poor competitiveness, fragmentation, inefficiency, presence of excessive middlemen, and frequent price manipulations. The electronic trading portal for national agricultural market is an attempt to use modern technology for transforming the system of agricultural marketing. 

Since the launch of the economic reforms in 1991, the disparity between growth rates of output in agriculture and non-agriculture sectors has risen sharply. The average annual growth rate for five years in agriculture hovered around a long-term growth trend of 3% whereas growth rate of non-agriculture sector increased steadily from around 6% during the early 1990s to 10% during 2004–05 to 2008–09, and 7.5% during the recent five years. An important reason for this is that the price incentive offered by the agricultural market in the country did not improve, as these markets remained fragmented, inefficient and dominated by low scale and multiple middlemen.

It is observed that after implementation of the Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Act (APMRA) in various states during 1960s and 1970s, no major reform in the agricultural market has been implemented (Chand 2012). The APMRA brought radical changes and significant improvement in almost all aspects of marketing of farm produce (Acharya 2004). This has been a major driving force behind the achievements of the Green Revolution phase. However, many gains brought by APMRA to improve competitiveness of agricultural markets got diluted over time and market infrastructure did not keep pace with volume of market arrivals. The facilities provided in markets remained not only inadequate, but also deteriorated in many cases. Excessive intermediation worked to the disadvantage of producers and consumers, and favoured only middlemen.

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