Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched an e-trading platform for agricultural products, terming it a "turning point" to ensure transparency in buying and selling of farmers' produce across the country.
The Internet-based e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) is aimed at integrating 'mandis' to help both farmers and buyers by providing them data of produce available, its quality and the price being offered at the bidding markets.
"This is a turning point for the agriculture community. The agriculture sector has to be looked at holistically, and it is only then that maximum benefit of the farmer can be ensured," said Modi, addressing a gathering of farmers at Vigyan Bhawan here on the occasion.
He said that the e-trading platform will help farmers and buyers access a huge market and help them to decide for themselves by providing choices. "It's (e-NAM) a very big possibility. This is for the time that the farmers will be able to decide where, when and on what price they want to sell their produce," Modi said amid cheers from the audience.
Initially 21 mandis from eight states have been linked to the NAM and as he pressed a button, all 21 logged in to the portal. The government plans to link 200 mandis to the portal within five months and 585 by March 2018.
Modi also emphasised that farmers' income can be doubled only by applying scientific methods. Giving example of a child, who would not be benefited if bathed in a bucket of milk but would grow faster if fed in small quantities by a spoon, he said that that flood irrigation was a "thing of past" and new techniques of drip irrigation were to be adopted in the 21st century.
He also urged farmers to get their soil tested and then farm accordingly. Speaking on the occasion, union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that the government was working hard for the welfare of the farmers and launch of eNAM is a step in this direction. Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was a "day of change" that will empower farmers.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Mohan Bhai Kundaria and Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha and Agriculture Secretary Shobhana Patnaik were also present on the occasion.