Agricultural Marketing is the study of all the activities, agencies and policies involved in the procurement of farm inputs by the farmers and the movement of Agricultural products from the farms to the consumers.
Agriculture occupies a pride of place in the Indian Economy not so much because it gives more income than other activities but because 70% of the people depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
The Importance of Agricultural Marketing in India are as follows:
- Agricultural Marketing is one of the manifold problems, which have a direct bearing upon the prosperity of the cultivators, as India is the agricultural country and about 70% of its population depends on it.
- Agriculture supplies raw materials to various Industries and therefore, marketing of such commercial crops like cotton, sugarcane, oilseeds, etc. Assumes greater importance.
- Marketing process brings new varieties, qualities, and beneficial goods to consumers and therefore, marketing acts as a line between production and consumption.
- A marketing system can become a direct source of new technical knowledge and induce farmers to adopt up to date scientific methods of cultivation.
- A reduction in the cost of marketing is a direct benefit to the society.
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Government measures in the field of Agricultural Marketing are as follows:
1) Market Surveys
a) Various surveys have been conducted and published by Government for various goods.
b) Problems in marketing have been pointed out and remedies suggested.
c) Wide publication of price of different Agricultural goods in different markets through a market survey.
2) Development and Strengthening of Grading and Standardization System
a) Setting up of Grading stations under Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marketing) Act, 1937 for products like ghee, flour, eggs, etc.
b) Laying down of standards for 162 Agricultural and allied products.
c) Assigning ‘AGMARK’ to these graded products which ensure good quality and also command a better price in the market.
d) Setting up of central quality control laboratory at Nagpur along with eleven regional laboratories for testing of products applying for ‘AGMARK’. So far 108 rules for Agricultural commodities have been framed.
3) Setting up of Regulated Markets and Strengthening Agricultural Marketing System
a) The regulated markets are set up to eliminate unhealthy market practices and protect the interests of the farmers.
b) Agriculture being a state subject, a model APMC Act was formulated and circulated to the states/UT’s in the year 2003 for adoption.
c) There are 7,114 regulated markets in India as on 31-03-2014 which caters to need of about 80% Agricultural products.
d) The Central Sector Scheme launched on 20-10-2014 under which credit linked investment subsidy is provided for general or commodity specific marketing infrastructure for Agricultural and allied commodities.
The scheme is linked to implementing 3 reforms namely.
- Setting up markets in the Private and Co-operative sector.
- Provision for contract farming.
- Provision for direct marketing.
It is being implemented in those States /UTs which has amended their APMC Act accordingly.
4) Strengthening the provision of storage and warehousing facility.
a) Necessary to prevent wastage and distress sale of farmers.
b) Central Warehousing Corporation was set up in 1957 with the purpose of constructing and running godowns and warehouses.
c) States have also set up the warehousing corporations for the same purpose.
d) The FCI has its own network of storage facilities.
e) Launch of ‘Grameen Bhandaran Yojana’ (Rural Godown Scheme) 01-04-2001 with the main objective of creating scientific storage capacity with allied facilities in rural areas .
5) Organisation of Co-operative Marketing System
a) These are multi-purpose organizations with emphasis on credit and marketing
b) Primary marketing societies have been encouraged to form societies at State and apex level National Agricultural Marketing Federation (NAFED) and NCDC.
c) Large financial and other support has been provided by the Government .
6) Setting up of Special Boards and Organisations
a) The Central Government has set up a number of such boards for special commodities like Rice, Pulses, Millets, Oilseeds, Sugarcane, Jute, Cotton, Tobacco, etc
b) Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) at Faridabad for promotion of standards and grading of Agricultural and allied produce
c) Ch.Charan Singh National Institute of Agricultural Marketing (NIAM), Jaipur for providing training in the field of Agricultural Marketing
d) Small Farmers Agricultural – business Consortium (SFAC), New Delhi for promoting Agricultural business for small and marginal farmers
7) Marketing Research and Information Network (MRIN) Scheme
a) An ICT based Central Sector Scheme of Marketing Research and Information Network (AGMARKNET) was launched in March 2000
b) Aimed to provide electronic connectivity to important wholesale markets in the country
c) Information relating to prices, arrival of commodities and other market-related information is provided on the portal
d) More than 3,200 markets are covered under scheme .
8) Appointment of Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Agricultural Marketing Reforms.
a) Promotion of direct marketing and contract farming
b) Development of Agricultural Markets in Private and Co-operative Sectors
c) Expansion of future trading to cover Agricultural products
d) Introduction of negotiable warehousing receipts system
e) Use of Information Technology.
9) Standardisation of Weights and Measures.
The Government has Standardised the weights and measures(i.e., introduced uniform weights and measures) throughout the country. Today, the metric system of weights and measures are used throughout the country. The standardization of weights and measures has helped the farmers to protect themselves against exploitation by the dealers.