Economy News

Over 7,000 farmer groups sell on ONDC platform

ONDC is being promoted as an alternative to global e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart, supporting small enterprises.

More than seven thousand farmers’ collectives across various states are now able to sell unique agricultural products including rice, pulses, millets, honey, mushrooms, spices, and value-added products on the government’s e-commerce platform — Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).

ONDC is being promoted as an alternative to global e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart, supporting small enterprises.

Since the farmers producer organisations (FPOs) started joining the ONDC platform in April 2023, more than 7,020 such entities, out of 8,500 registered entities with the government so far, have sold as many as 3,100 varieties of value-added agricultural products using the facility.

To provide farmers with better market access, an agriculture ministry official said, “The move to bring FPOs on ONDC aims to empower them with direct access to digital marketing, online payment, business-to-business, and business-to-consumer transactions.”

The network has more than 30 digital applications including Mystore, PayTM, Magicpin, and Delhivery, covering intercity logistics, and platforms for buyers and sellers.

According to Raghavendra Singh, CEO, Ridhi Sidhi Krishi Producer Company, an FPO with 520 members based in Pipariya district, Madhya Pradesh, after selling pulses under ONDC, the FPO has started preparing to sell multi-grain flour and a host of other products in the current fiscal to boost sales. 

“Our sales in 2023-24 have crossed Rs 90 million, mostly from selling seeds and pulses. We aim to use the digital platform to expand our business,” Singh told FE.

Anand Pandey, director of Chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Farmer Producer Company, based in Nanded, Maharashtra, said that the collective recently boarded onto the ONDC platform. The farmers’ collective, with a membership of around 1,000 farmers, is preparing to sell organic millet products to expand sales.

“Last fiscal, we crossed sales of Rs 4 million, and the target is to increase sales to Rs 6 million in FY25,” said Tapas Kumar Pati, chief operating officer of BASIX Krishi Samruddhi, a group that has supported 70 FPOs into ONDC in Odisha, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh. The FPOs have been selling unique aromatic rice varieties, pulses, and turmeric powder on the digital platform.

In April 2022, the government launched ONDC as a Section 8 company established by the department for promotion of industry and internal trade. 

ONDC supports and trains FPOs with free registration, development and digitisation of product catalogues, generating shipping labels, identifying delivery partners, and facilitating digital payments so that they can leverage the platform for marketing their products.

While ONDC has collaborated with the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), a body under the agriculture ministry, to support FPOs, officials said the aim is to support small and micro enterprises as FPOs face challenges in accessing markets nationwide. 

Tech major Meta announced a partnership with ONDC to upskill small businesses including FPOs.

Over 8,500 FPOs have been registered against the government target of 10,000 under a new Central Sector Scheme titled “Formation and Promotion of 10,000 FPOs” launched in 2020 with a budgetary provision of Rs 6,865 crore. 

Under the scheme, FPOs are provided financial assistance up to Rs 1.8 million per FPO for a period of three years. In addition, provision has been made for matching equity grants up to Rs 2,000 per farmer member of an FPO with a limit of Rs 1.5 million per FPO. The scheme also entails a credit guarantee facility up to Rs 20 million of project loan per FPO.

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