AGRICULTURAL MARKETING IN INDIA: PRESENT STATUS, PROBLEMS AND REMEDIES

Bikash Das
               
1.Introduction

India is mainly an agricultural country and one third population of the country depends on the agriculture sector directly or indirectly. Agriculture remains as the main stray of the Indian economy since time immemorial. Agriculture sector contributes about 25% of the total GDP of India (Mishra and Puri, 2007). In case of agricultural production the country is very rich. For example, India is the largest tea and jute producing country of the world. Similarly, the country is placed second and fourth in the world in paddy and cotton production respectively. Hence, in India, a proper marketing system of agricultural products is very essential. Agricultural marketing can be defined as the performance of all business activities included in the flow of products from the beginning of agricultural production until they are in the hands of consumers. In other words, Agricultural marketing is the sum of commercial functions involved in transferring agricultural products consisting of farm, horticultural and other allied products from producer to consumer. In India, Agricultural marketing system is very backward as many problems are involved with the marketing system of agricultural products in the country. However several programs and schemes have been undertaken by the Government to improve the Agricultural marketing system in the country. It is hoped that, initiatives taken by the government will bring improvements in the Agricultural marketing system in the country (Dhar, 2005).                                                                                    

2.Present Status of Agricultural Marketing in India                                                         
There are four different systems of Agricultural marketing in India. These are as follows:

(a)Sale in Villages: The first method open to the farmers in India is to sell away their agricultural products to the village moneylenders and traders at a very low price. The moneylenders and traders may buy independently or work as an agent of a bigger merchant of the local products. In India more than 50% of the agricultural products are sold in the village markets in the absence of organized markets.

(b) Sale in Markets: The second method of disposing surplus of the Indian farmers is to sell their products in the weekly village markets popularly known as’ hat’ or in annual fairs. These markets are established for selling the agricultural products of the local cultivators.

(c) Sale in Mends: The third form of Agricultural marketing in India is to sell the surplus products through mends located in various small and large towns. There are nearly 1700 mends which are spread all over the country. As these are located in distant place, thus the farmers will have to carry their products to the mends and sell those products to the wholesalers with the help of brokers. These wholesalers again sell those farm products to the factories and to the retailers who in turn sell these goods to the consumers directly in the retail markets.

(d) Co-operating Marketing:  The fourth form of marketing is the co-operative marketing where societies are formed by farmers to sell the output collectively to take the advantage of collective bargaining for obtaining a better price. Co-operative marketing is the most standard form of Agricultural marketing in the country.

3.Problems of Agricultural Marketing in India

Many problems are involved with the agricultural marketing system of India. Following are some of the main problems of the agricultural marketing in India:

(a)Lack of Storage Facility: There is no proper storage of warehousing facilities for farmers in the villages where they can store their agricultural products. In India, every year 15 to 30 percent of the agricultural products are damaged due to the absence of proper storage facilities. Thus, the farmers are forced to sell their products at a very low price.

(b) Poor Transportation: Poor transportation is one of the major defects of agricultural marketing in India. In the absence of proper road transportation facilities in the rural areas, farmers fail to sell their products at a fair price in the town markets. Thus, they prefer to sell their products at the village markets itself.

(c) Lack of Market Intelligence: There is absence of market intelligence or information system in India. Indian farmers are not aware of the current market prices of their products. Thus, they have to accept any un-remunerative price for their products as offered by traders or middleman (Dhankar, 2013).

(d) Intermediaries: A large number of intermediaries exist between the cultivators and the consumers. All these middlemen and brokers claim a good amount of margin and thus reduce the returns of the cultivators. Thus, intermediaries are considered as a major problem in the agricultural marketing system of India.

(e) Lack of Grading: Indian farmers do not give importance to grading of their products. They hesitate to separate the qualitatively good crops from bad crops. Therefore, they fail to fetch a good price of their quality products. Thus, lack of grading is a major problem of agricultural marketing in India.        
                              
(f) Lack of Institutional Finance: In the absence of adequate institutional finance, Indian farmers have to come under the clutches of traders and moneylenders for taking loan. After harvest they have to sell their products to those moneylenders at un-remunerative price.

(g) Unregulated Markets: There are a huge number of unregulated markets which adopt various malpractices. Prevalence of false weights and measures and lack of grading and standardization of products in village markets in India are always going against the interest of ignorant, small and poor farmers.

(h) Lack of Organization:  There is lack of collective organization on the part of Indian farmers. A very small amount of marketable surplus is being brought by a huge number of small farmers leading to a high transportation cost. Lack of organization creates the problems like the absence of cooperation between the producers and the consumers.

4.Government Measures for Promoting Agricultural Marketing in India:                                                                                                              
According to Dutta and Sundaram (2009), in India, several measures or steps have been undertaken by the Government for promoting agricultural marketing in the country. These measures include establishment of regulated markets, construction of warehouse, provision of grading and standardization of products, improvement of transport facilities etc. This are mentioned below.
  • Establishment of Regulated Markets.
  • Grading and Standardization.
  • Use of Standard Weights.
  • Go down and Storage Facilities are provided.
  • Dissemination of Market Information.
  • Government Purchases and Fixes Support Prices. 
5.Suggestive Measures

Improvement of agricultural marketing is very essential in India. The following are some of the measures to be followed for improving the existing system of agricultural marketing in the country.
  • Establishment of regulated markets.
  • Establishment of co-operative marketing societies.
  • Provision is to be made for extending adequate amount of credit facilities to the farmers.
  • Extension and construction of additional storage and warehousing facilities for agricultural products of the farmers.
  • Expansion of market yards and allied facilities for the new existing markets.
  • Provision for grading and standardization of the products for ensuring good quality to the consumers and better prices for the farmers.
  • Improvement and extension of road and transportation facilities for connecting the village markets with the mends.
  • Timely supply of marketing information to the farmers.
  • Formulating suitable agricultural price policy by the Government.               
6.Conclusion

From the above analysis, we may conclude that India is mainly an agricultural economy as most of the people in the country are engaged in agriculture sector. But the marketing system of agricultural products has remained very backward in the country. Many problems such as lack of storage facility, poor transportation, unregulated markets, lack of organization, lack of institutional finance etc. are involved with the agricultural marketing system in the country. However, several measures or schemes have been undertaken by the government for improvement of agricultural marketing system in India. It is hoped that, proper implementation of these measures will bring a huge benefit or improvement for the agricultural marketing system in the country.

7.References
  • P. K. Dhar. Indian Economy:  Its Growing Dimensions.  New Delhi: Kalyani Publishers, 2005, pp.282-287.
  • S. K. Mishra & V. K. Puri. Indian Economy: Its Development Experience. New Delhi: Himalaya Publishers, 2007, pp.313-319.
  • R. Dutta and K. P. M. Sundaram. Indian Economy. New Delhi: S Chand & Co Ltd, 55 Revised Edition, 2009, pp. 613-621.
  • G.H. Dhankar. Development of Internet Based Agricultural Marketing System in India. New   Jersey: Hall Inc, 2013, p. 139.
Notes: Journal & Report, Yojana, Kurukhetra and www.india.org.in


About the author: The author Mr. Bikash Das, after completing his B.A. (1st class with distinction) in 2014 from Majuli College has done his M. A. from Dibrugarh University (securing 1st class) with specialization in Econometrics and Environmental Economics in 2016. He has cleared the NET (National Eligibility Test) Exam for Assistant Professor in December, 2016. At present he is working as an Assistant Professor (Contractual) in the Department of Economics, Majuli College. His areas of interest are Arts, Culture, Literature and Econometrics.


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