Agriculture is a major source of economy in India and about one-third of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. So far we have discussed about how to grow crops, the climatic conditions, soil types, terrain, etc. We have also discussed a bit about preservation, storage, etc. Another related topic to agriculture is marketing and this is so important because, without efficient marketing, growing crops will be a waste of time. Agricultural marketing involves the supply of produce from rural to rural, rural to urban, and rural to industrial consumers. It is basically a process of transferring agricultural produce from the farms to the end consumer.
People love to know about the latest products out on the market and how to get them. This information must be made public through various ads and ad campaigns to inform the end buyer (consumer) about the latest products coming their way. Organic products, for instance, are in big demand and consumers have attained a deep interest in organic farm products. The way they learn about these products is either by paper ads, online blogs, ads, pamphlets and so on. Farmers markets are annual events where farmers come to the cities with their produce to sell them to the consumers directly.
Agricultural produce needs to be transported to nearby villages and cities and so on. Crops grown in India are not only used by us but also exported to other countries. Indian agriculture contribution to the national gross domestic product (GDP) is about 25%. Commercializing agricultural produce along with adequate production and distribution of food is important and essential for marketing and revenue generation.
Marketing involves assembling, preparation for consumption and distribution. Selling depends on the demand for the product at that time, availability of storage, etc. The products may be sold directly in the market or it may be stored locally for the time being. Produce once harvested is usually cleaned, graded and processed for preservation before marketing. Processing involves extraction of oil from oil-seeds, manufacturing rubber and so on and it also concerns the preservation of produce. The task of the distribution system is to match the supply with the existing demand by whole selling and retailing in various markets.
Most of the agricultural produce in India is sold by farmers in the private sector to moneylenders or to village traders. In India, there are several central government organizations involved in agricultural marketing such as Commission of Agricultural Costs and Prices, Food Corporation of India, Cotton Corporation of India, Jute Corporation of India, etc. There are also specialized marketing bodies for rubber, tea, coffee, tobacco, spices and vegetables. There are more than forty primary commodities graded for export and voluntarily graded for internal consumption.
In India, there are four different systems of agricultural marketing, namely sale in villages, sale in markets, sale in mandis and cooperative marketing. Sale in villages is open to farmers to sell their surplus produce to the village moneylenders and traders at a very low price. In India, more than 50% of the agricultural produce is sold in village markets in the absence of organized markets. Sale in markets refers to the sales conducted in weekly village markets or annual fairs. Mandis are set up in towns and the farmers carry their produce to sell in these locations. The farmers sell the produce to the local wholesalers who in turn sell the produce to retailers, consumers, mills, factories, etc. Cooperative marketing is a form of society formed by farmers to sell their produce.
Factors that affect marketing –
Marketing needs adequate financial support to add value to the agricultural economy.
Supply and demand needs have to meet in order to carry out effective marketing and export
In India, crop production depends on rainfall, irrigation systems, etc. Lack of rainfall over the years has led to lesser crops being produced and therefore it affects the agricultural economy as well
Steps must be taken to ensure that crops are produced in the required amounts to meet the demands
Produce must be well preserved well and disease free.
Steps must be taken to ensure efficient storage facilities like warehouses that can store produce
Produce must be graded well as a pre-requisite to marketing. Farmers must be taught the importance of this if they expect to fetch a good price for their produce. Also, produce that is exported must be graded correctly and mandatorily
Adequate transport facilities must be put in place
Marketing strategies must also be in place to meet the supply. For instance, in some cases or areas, the supply is sufficient thanks to spread of Green Revolution, etc. but there may not be marketing strategies in place to supply produce generated. Ultimately economy suffers and most importantly the farmer
Regulated markets must be created to eliminate unethical trade practices
New markets and market yards must be set up to support the increase in market arrivals. Cooperative marketing societies help a lot in generating revenue
Setting up fairs also helps farmers tremendously in disposing surplus produce and generating revenue
Indian farmers usually suffer at the hands of traders, middle-men, and wholesalers who market and sell their produce. Farmers can be taught how to market their produce.
Funds are inadequate usually for farmers to sell their produce. They just have enough to sell locally in their own villages. Hence cooperative societies really help in these aspects
Credit can be provided to farmers to sell their produce
Timely marketing information can be given to farmers to help them sell and market their produce at the right time and places
Road transport facilities must be improved to carry produce quickly to other regions
Formulating suitable agricultural price policy by the Government is another important aspect of agricultural marketing