“NCML Surakshit Mandi initiative a big booster for farmers”

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NCML came out with its solutions in the midst of the crisis in the lockdown period to help farmers sell their produce seamlessly through its warehouses. In a candid chat with our Special Correspondent Sanjeev Jasrotia, the NCML President Unupom Kausik discusses the highs of the unique platform, it future expansion plan and how it helped farmers in times of distress

Tell us about the project Surakshit Mandi initiated by NCML.

With the onset of pandemic and consequent lockdown, market access became a key challenge for farmers. The Government took immediate action and tried to streamline the mandi operations. NCML initiated the program 'Surakshit Mandi' to help farmers in selling their crops through its warehouses, which provides a direct platform to farmers to get the right price, timely & affordable credit and has also ensured a safe and easy transaction. It further uses the latest RBI-approved escrow accounts, provides an e-wallets payment gateway.

When did NCML introduce the “Surakshit Mandi” program?

NCML introduced the concept of Surakshit Mandi at the time when everything was under lockdown and the farmer needed to sell his stock. Most of the farmers only brought crops that were not under government procurement. We ensured that when a farmer brings their produce, we suitably assay, grade, and list it for e-auction on the electronic platform — MKTYard.com. Provisions were made to issue e-tokens in advance and all Covid-19 related protocols are observed.  Farmers’ acknowledgment was taken basis the bids received online, and the money was deposited into their account on the same day.

Where all have you started it and how it has been helping the farmers?

NCML’s MktYard.com has a pan-India presence with over 5000 traders and processors, 100 FPO’s trading across all commodities and has pioneered products like pledge sale and order matching. We started the ‘Surakshit Mandi’ operations in Rajasthan and Odisha and has now expanded its operations to other states like Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

NCML has successfully conducted over 8000 e-Auctions worth more than INR 1000 Crores for various government organizations- such as marketing federations, civil supply corporations, and seed corporations across the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Gujarat.

Further, e-auctions have also been conducted for more than 10 national banks and signed agreements with 8 of them as the first-choice auction service provider. The company has also conducted auctions for MMTC and NAFED (Onions) as well.

Mktyard.com platform safeguards the interest of both buyers & sellers and ensures payment of sellers and the quality & quantity of buyers. This also facilitates Farmers, FPOs and Village level aggregators to directly connect with processors & exporters, eliminating multiple mediators in the Agri value chain.

How did you implement the whole process of Surakshit Mandi?

NCML' s warehouses/silos/cold storages acted as the nodal points for executing the whole process. 

The advantages of the warehouse to function as a market yard include protection of the unsold produce for the farmers and more participation of traders due to suitably assayed and graded produce. It also offers the benefit of easy and safe access to the market and secure and timely payment for farmers.

What are the next steps and how do you plan to make the process more reachable?

NCML aims to focus on wheat and maize for the upcoming Rabi season and will cover Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh as they are the major wheat-producing states. To make the process more accessible, the company has its android-based farmer e-procurement app, using which it has procured paddy and maize worth INR 550 Crores in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Bihar.

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