Potato is India's largely grown and most liked tuber. For the benefit of farmers who usually take to distress sales, potato trading will go online in West Bengal.
According to state agriculture minister, Naren De, the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited (MCX), an independent multi-commodity exchange recognised by the central government for facilitating online trading, will conduct the online sales of potatoes. It is to begin from Sept. 1.
The potatoes would be sold under the brand name Tarakeswar Alu though the crop would be procured from Hooghly (where Tarakeshwar is located) as well as Burdwan, Howrah and other districts.
According to De, online trading might bring parity in prices across the country and benefit both the farmer and the trader. Since the market is regulated by stockists and traders, farmers often get poor prices as they sell the crop from the field itself irrespective of demand. The minister said about eight million tonnes of potatoes are grown in West Bengal.
According to a study by MCX, there is scope for a turnover of Rs.45 billion in potato trade annually. As the Kufri Jyoti variety is produced in abundance, it was chosen for online sale.Another popular variety - Chandramukhi - has not found place online because of inadequate production.
Satellite technology would enable the online facility to reach every village market. Trading would continue from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
MCX is appointing brokers area wise for the online trade. A buyer has to purchase at least 30 tonnes to be eligible for online trading. A buyer would be able to store the potatoes in the cold storages registered by the government and take delivery as and when required.
MCX is a joint venture of the Financial Technologies (I) Ltd., State Bank of India and its associates, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. (NSE), Fid Fund (Mauritius) Ltd. - an affiliate of Fidelity International, Corporation Bank, Union Bank of India, Canara Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, HDFC Bank and SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd.
In the first calendar quarter of 2006, MCX held more than 55 percent market share of the total trading volume of all the domestic commodity exchanges.
Headquartered in Mumbai, MCX is led by an expert management team with deep domain knowledge of the commodities futures market.