Online system fails to fix raisin trade lapses

Online system fails to fix raisin trade lapses

The introduction of online trading in raisins almost a year ago (February 7, 2015) has failed to benefit farmers, due to the reported lobbying by traders.

The old stock is selling for Rs 120 to Rs 130, while the new stock is going for Rs 150 to Rs 170. The growers are in the dock as traders end up profiting one or the other way.

The prices have actually been fluctuating in the last one year. While it stood at Rs 300 to Rs 320 during the same period last year, it plummeted later on, only to recover at the beginning of the season, explains  Siddappa Dundappa Balagonda, a grape grower from Kolhar in the district.

The online trading centre for raisins was set up at a cost of Rs 2.75 crore, but that has not helped in rectifying the lapses in the raisin trade. The trade is, like always, in the stranglehold of the traders. Farmers say that the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) has never been able to free itself from the vice-like grip of the trading community.

Balagonda rues the fact that even the grapes growers’ associations have not protested against the traders’ lobby.

Handsome profit
For farmers, the disadvantage begins right at the moment they enter the market. Traders cite fall in prices and purchase the commodity from farmers at low prices. The trick is to sell the produce whenever it commands a good price, thus making a handsome profit. He suspects a nexus between the traders and officials.

There are also instances of the traders grabbing handfuls of raisins from each box on the pretext of tasting it, thus causing losses for them, the farmers rue.

With the start of online trading, it was expected that buyers from across the country would take part in the trade, thus giving growers a fair price.

It was also expected that the buyers would get paid in 24 hours. But the online system getting stuck has put paid to the hopes of the grape-growing community.

In the manual trading system, the traders pay the farmers a month after buying the produce, Somanath Biradar, a young farmer from Uppaladinni, told Deccan Herald.

For the record, the online trading centre functions part-time, only on Saturdays. APMC secretary V Ramesh says that tenders have been invited for allotting stalls to traders.
February 4 is the last date to submit the bids. Ramesh says that the centre will function on a full-fledged basis in the next two to three months.

Online trade will also restart thereafter.  He argues that farmers themselves had opposed online trading when it started last year.

Traders from outside could not take part due to a glitch in the display of the online system. Ramesh quoted Deputy Commissioner D Randeep as saying that a decision on the online trade could be taken once the panchayat elections were over.
DH News Service

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