On August 1, Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh launched Rashtriya Kisan Agri Mandi (e-RaKAM), an e-platform for farmers to sell agricultural produce.
The e-RaKAM portal will leverage technology to connect farmers from the smallest villages to the biggest markets. This will also neutralise the role of middlemen in the farm trade. In an interview to IANS, Singh said,
"The middleman has been an important factor in Indian history. We got to know what role the middleman can play through the Bofors scam. We need to encourage this portal to make the trade free of middlemen so farmers get remunerative prices."
"If such initiatives are implemented effectively, farmers' income can be increased by not just double but four to five times," he further added.
While Paswan believes the initiative to be helpful, he said initial hiccups are unavoidable. He wants the portal to use simple language so that it is easy for farmers to use.
"This way various crops whose prices increase due to rainfall or bad weather conditions will be managed and will get the market. Even transport condition will also have initial hurdles that will be sorted with time."
E-RaKAM also aims to bring together farmers, farmer producer organisations (FPOs), PSUs, and buyers on a single platform to ease the selling and buying process of agricultural products.
The platform has been developed by the MSTC, a public sector unit under the steel ministry, and will receive assistance from the food ministry's Central Railside Warehouse Company for marketing and logistics. The agriculture ministry has also come up with the e-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) under its market reform efforts.