Looking to open up agriculture commerce for Indian farmers, producers and intermediaries, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), on Friday (December 11), announced the launch of an electronic spot platform BSE E-Agricultural Markets Ltd (BEAM) for agricultural commodities. The platform will enable farmers to auction their produce in other states digitally.
BSE’s MD and CEO Ashishkumar Chauhan said that the stock exchange plans to leverage its nationwide distribution network and state-of-the-art technology to provide a world-class framework for agriculture commodity trading.
BEAM will offer customised solutions to farmers, traders and stakeholders to facilitate sale and purchase of various agricultural commodities. The platform will facilitate spot agricultural commodities transactions across the value chain i.e producers, intermediaries, ancillary services and consumers.
The platform is a part of its subsidiary BSE Investments Ltd and will commence beta operations effective today. The platform will help farmers and farmer collectives to discover best prices for their produce based on the quality and build capacity to help intermediaries, processors and exporters procure from states.
“This platform will function as a national, institutionalised, electronic, transparent commodity spot trading platform in line with the Prime Minister’s vision to create a single market,” the exchange said in a statement.
BSE said the platform will ensure reduced cost of intermediation, improved procurement efficiency, enhanced producers’ realisation and more competitive consumer prices.
The development comes as the agriculture reform bills have attracted plenty of controversy and protests from farmers across the country. Though the three bills are still awaiting President’s final approval, farmers in Punjab and Haryana have been red-flagging the legislation already.
There are questions about whether such a move will improve market access for farmers or whether it will tackle the problem of hoarding of agri commodities by large farmers to drive up prices and finally, contract farming, which risks turning agriculture into a gig economy sector.
Specifically, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, which allows farmers to supply directly to corporates, provided they maintain the required quality standards and consistency. The other two bills are the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.
Read more in our report, ‘Agritech Startups On The New Models, Opportunities In The Wake Of The Farm Reform Bills’.