As I enter a private mandi in Yavatmal accompanied by two males, Pankaj cautions me about what I was to witness. A lean trader picks up a Soya bean and bites it and says, “2400”. Others follow suit as the ceremonial process begins. “20...40...80... Sold at 2480”, shouts the arhatiya, surrounded by a plethora of traders, some even hold a rare possession—a moisture meter. Piles of freshly harvested Soya beans amidst hundreds of packed gunny bags lay in the mandi, ready to be traded.

When Pankaj later inquired a farmer outside the mandi if he was satisfied with the price he received for his produce, the disheartened farmer replied, “Forget about the prices, I don’t even know how these prices are even decided. It’s such an opaque process that I feel as if I’m blindfolded throughout it. ”

The process of trading in mandis is indeed an epitome of agrarian crisis in India.

Agricultural Mandis are major trading hubs for agricultural produce and allied products. Under the Agricultural Produce & Livestock Market Committee Act (APMC), the first sale of agriculture produce could occur only at the APMC mandis. It was only recently in 2020 that the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 came into force and allowed farmers to sell their produce outside APMC mandis in India. But, the larger issue at hand here is not about where the procurement takes place but how transparent the process of procurement is.

One of the major causes of the prevalent agrarian distress is the way the mandi system is turning into an oppressive force for the farmers. Firstly, post-harvest, the farmers need to travel long distances to the faraway district/town to sell their produce, bearing exorbitant transport and labour charges. Secondly, they’ve no prior information on the market rates and are dependent on the middlemen (arhatiyas) to get their produce sold. Thirdly, lack of storage facilities adds to their agony as they’ve no agency to make use of the favourable market conditions and earn profits. Over and above all these, a major lacunae in the process is the arbitrary and informal process of quoting of prices by traders at the mandis.

In a free-market world, one would imagine that the quality of any item would determine its value and price. Unfortunately in the agricultural mandi world, quality analysis is done through rudimentary subjective methods such as chewing the grains or merely examining them with naked eyes. Through our field work at GramHeet we’ve observed that the same farmer who has grown the same variety of crop at the same time, when divides his produce into three portions to sell at the mandi platform, he ends up getting three different prices for the same produce. The variation in such prices were in the range of Rs. 50-100 per quintal of soya beans. This opaqueness of price determination can also be further observed even when farmers sell to the government at Minimum Support Price (MSP). MSP is associated with a standard quality, and all farmers, be it the ones who have better, same or relatively worse quality as compared to the standards, get the same prices. This becomes unfair to the ones who’ve produced good quality grains as the government could offer them better prices based on quality. MSP stands for a basic minimum price and can be increased further so that farmers get fair prices for their produce.

Ongoing quality check of farmer's yield

Farmers are thus the victims in the entire process and lose out on fair prices that they are entitled to. Further there are no incentives for those who grow better quality crops. After understanding such issues of farmers through extensive study, we at GramHeet have developed various process innovations to bring in transparency for the farmers and ensure better prices than the existing mandis.

We’ve pioneered the Quality Analysis Labs which are in accordance to the standards of the food processing industry. There are three major components namely the weighing scale, grain sample divider machine, and our very own innovation—the Quality Analysis Table. Such quality analysis procedures were used only in the higher order transactions of the supply chain such as when traders sold to processors or when import-export transactions took place. But now, GramHeet has made such procedures accessible to the farmers at their very door-step. This indeed is a revolutionary thought that envisions an empowered farmer.

Grain Divider

At the Gram Mandi, when the farmers bring their produce in several gunny bags, they are weighed on the digital weighing scale. Further, standard sized samples are collected from each of these gunny bags and mixed together. Then this large sample is passed through the grain sample divider machine, which divides the grains equally into two parts. One such part is taken and examined on the Quality Analysis Table for foreign materials and damaged materials. And then, its moisture content is measured on the Moisture Meter. Based on the quality of the sample size, farmers are informed of the quality of their entire produce including the number of quintals of damaged produce. Price of the entire produce is calculated according to this Quality Analysis Report. The quantity and quality details of their produce is made available to farmers in the form of a physical as well as a digital receipt. This way the farmers are assured of fair prices in an absolutely transparent manner.

We, at GramHeet, are thus committed to making farming a profitable business by making processes efficient, transparent and farmer-friendly. We imagine a world where “no farmer is left behind” in the process of development.

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GramHeet Private Limited
98/ Warud (Tuka),
Tal - Arni, Dist. Yavatmal,
Maharashtra 445106

+91 93707 16975

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