Agricultural Marketing in India
The importance of marketing in agriculture is very well illustrated by saying, “that a good farmer has one eye on the plough and the other on the market”. This is true when agriculture is mainly for subsistence; and now, even Indian agriculture is becoming commercialized. In these days of commercial agriculture, it will be more fit to say, “a good farmer has only his hands on the plough but the eyes on the market
Since agriculture constitutes a major part of the economy, marketing of agricultural products also assumes considerable importance in our context.
Marketed surplus is the amount of agricultural produce that is brought to the market for sale after what is retained by the producers for their own consumption. Hence it will be less than total production. It is difficult to give a correct estimation of marketed surplus, since it differs according to crop, place, season and general state of the economy.
Marketing finance is also important since the small producer will experience difficulty in waiting for payment from the whole-sale buyer, if the time lag is too long.
Proper storage and handling facilities are important because otherwise, the produce will perish and become unmarketable and unusable.
Indian Farmers and Marketing Disabilities:
The present system of agricultural marketing is not well-organized and the farmers have to depend largely on the middlemen for the disposal of the farm’s yield who have no hesitation in taking advantage of the farmer’s dependence upon them.
The real evil is the tendency of these intermediaries who exploit the ignorance and helplessness of the farmers to increase their own profit. The malpractices in the present system of agricultural marketing are very well known. The Rural Credit Survey Committee described the position as follows:
“while standards of marketing have improved, in most of the relatively few regulated markets which have been established, a number of malpractices still exist even in them since personnel and enforcement are two great problems, not always sufficiently attended to, much less solved.
Sometimes, the malpractices take fresh lease of unauthorized life just outside the market, for the private interests are strong, the advantages of evading strict regulation are many and the producer is in no position to seek eventual advantage and protection from law at the cost of the immediate disadvantage involved in the loss of powerful customers, which are also sources of credit and finance. Moreover, there is a very great lacuna that no control at all is exercised over village sales, in which the primary producer is literally, legally and in practice at the mercy of the village trader”.
Frequently large samples are also taken by the buyers with payment. The cultivators are not paid for them even when no sale is affected. Generally the transactions take place on a sample basis. Consequently, the producer does not get the full worth of his produce. The reputation of Indian agricultural producers in the world market is low.
The villagers have practically no contact with the outside world not are they in touch with the trend of market process and they mostly depend on hearsay reports received form the village bania who is always busy in earning profits from buyers by making them fools to the ignorant villagers.
In India, the following are some of the common defects agricultural marketing:
1. Lack of organization,
2. Forced sales,
3. Presence of middlemen,
4. Numerous market charges,
5. Market malpractices,
6. Lack of standard weights and measures,
7. Inadequate storage,
8. No standardization of price and quality,
9. Lack of marketing finance, and
10. Want of proper market information.
Requisites of good marketing
In the first place the quality of produce should be good. Good quality can fetch better price and confidence which can be assumed by using best seeds, by adopting correct methods of harvesting , by grading the product by storing it well and avoiding malpractices like adulteration and misrepresentation etc.
The second essential of good marketing is the staying power of the seller. Therefore, the agriculturists may have the staying power to sell so that they may get better prices after the harvest. The peasant should, therefore, have enough reserve to pay land revenue and meeting other needs.
The third essential of a good marketing is the good means of communication and transport facilities.
Fourthly, there should be conducted markets at convenient distance, and lastly, good marketing eliminates exploitation of the seller and reduce the number of intermediaries.