The state government has started working on a project to create an e-commerce platform for trading in agricultural goods, hoping to replicate the success of other e-commerce players trading in both perishable (fruits and vegetables) as well as non-perishable (grains etc).
In its initial stages, the project will target customers mostly in Pune and Mumbai.
Following its recent decision to delist fruits and vegetables from the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs), the state government has been working on creation of parallel and new market options for farmers. The decision has allowed farmers to sell their produce anywhere without being bound by the rules of APMCs. Direct marketing licences, weekly markets are private markets are the options being tried by the government so far.
Officers working on the e-commerce project say their first task was to collate data on farmers groups along with commodities they produce and sell. Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), under the department of agriculture, already has such data for each district, which will be used to create the e-platform. Once this information is made available easily, both business to business (b2b) and business to customer (b2c) linkages can be made.
“Farmer groups are into direct sourcing and sale of their produce. Once this information is made available, both institutional and individual customers can contact them directly,” said an officer working on the project.
It’s hoped that logistics involved in the process, including transport and packaging, will also help generate jobs in both rural and semi-urban areas.
Start-ups like Big Basket have already developed such linkages and are in the business of home delivery of both perishable and non-perishable good. Officers said the bigger data base available to them will give them the edge.
“Moreover, the platform will allow access to wholesalers, retailers as well as individual buyers access,” said the officer.
At present, the concept note for the project is being prepared and work will start soon.
Meanwhile, Kishore Toshniwal, director (marketing) with the state government, said that since farmer-producer companies have lined up seeking direct marketing licences, more than 70 such licences have been issued to them since the delisting exercise.
Other than making the process online, the government has made also it mandatory for such licence-holders to disclose online the business they do. This, Toshniwal said, would allow them to keep a tab on the quantum of business done by them.