Special Correspondent- RM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Several farmers in Malappuram district are unaware of their participation in e-trading under the E-krishi Project.

Advertisements have appeared in the E-krishi web site www.e-krishi.org that these farmers have a variety of produce to sell. However, if you call them, they say that they know nothing about the advertisements though they do cultivate the items mentioned and sell them locally.

Some others, on the other hand, are marginally aware of the project and the local Akshaya centres posting advertisements on their behalf.

However, only very few have benefited from the facility.

Sideeq Haji of Edayur said he did not know that an advertisement had appeared on his behalf on the web site. He was not aware of anybody having benefited from the E-krishi project. The advertisement said he wanted to sell coconut, areca nut and paddy.

When A. Mammu of Athavanad was asked about his advertisement announcing rubber for sale, his initial response was whether this reporter was seeking to buy his rubber plantation or rubber sheets.

Alavi Kunnapalli, whose name has figured in the web site as one seeking to sell betel leaves, said that he did cultivate betel leaves, but had not posted any advertisement on the web site. The local agriculture officer had visited his farm and inspected his crops. Balakrishnan, who wanted to sell koduveli and other medicinal plants, was aware that the local Akshaya centre had posted his advertisements. It was news to him that the advertisements also said that he had coconuts to sell. He had specifically told the centre not to include coconuts.

None of his medicinal plants had so far been sold through the web advertisements.

K. Omanakuttan, Nannamukku, said he could sell some of the earthworm composts being made by him through the advertisements. Shahna, Pandikkad, has listed bananas of about 50 farmers, cultivated with assistance from the Kerala Horticulture Project, for sale against her telephone number. (If you merely ask for one of the farmers, you may be told that you are calling the wrong number).

She said she had a few orders though the advertisements. Balakrishna Menon of Kochi, who manufactures vermi compost and wash, and repeatedly posted his advertisement on the E-krishi web site, said he had not received any orders from people in Kerala.

However, one person based in Saudi Arabia had called him and given an order.

These farmers only represent a microcosm of the 12,500 farmers networked by the Mission and the Agriculture Department through the web site and `bhoomi clubs.' Some trade does take place under the system as a number of institutional buyers have been linked to the project.

Manager (E-Governance) K. Anvar Sadath, who is heading the project, said trading would eventually pick up.

There were nearly 12,000 postings from 125 E-krishi centres in Malappuram district.

One of the impediments in the acceptance of the system by the farmers and buyers is the lack of legal backing for the trading. An Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act to govern contracts for supply of produce is on the anvil.

- RM