New Delhi - The "e-RaKAM" (Rashtriya Kisan Agri Mandi), an e-platform to trade agriculture commodities to ensure better returns to farmers and access to larger markets to buyers was launched here by Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh.
The e-RaKAM portal will leverage technology to connect farmers with smallest villages to biggest markets through internet, they said on the occasion.
Birender Singh said there was need of such initiatives to neutralise role of middlemen in the farm trade.
"Middleman has been an important factor in the Indian history. We got to know what role middle man can play through the Bofors scam. We need to encourage this portal to make the trade free of middlemen so farmers get remunerative prices," he said.
"If such initiatives are implemented effectively, farmers' income can be increased by not just double but four to five times."
Paswan said the initiative was helpful but it will face difficulties for initial period.
"The e-RaKAM will help us and farmers hugely. Initial hurdles will be there as most of our farmers are illiterate and are in bad condition. However, every new thing comes with its own difficulties that will be managed with time.
"This way various crops whose price increases 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."
Paswan added that the portal should be in simple language so farmers can understand the concept easily, with lots of information to clear all doubts in their minds.
He said that the portal should start with auctioning of pulses as the government had 19 lakh tonnes of pulses lying in its warehouses.
The e-RaKAM also aims to bring together farmers, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), PSUs, civil supplies and buyers on a single platform to ease the selling and buying process of agricultural products, a statement said.
The platform has been developed by the MSTC, a public sector unit under the Steel Ministry, and it will be assisted by the Food Ministry's Central Railside Warehouse Company for marketing and logistics.
A CRWC official said bidders from national and international markets can buy agriculture products without any involvement of the intermediaries.
"We have access to over 500 warehouses with sound logistic infrastructure. So we will be able to make the portal success soon," the official said.
Agriculture Ministry has also come up with e- National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) under its market reforms efforts.