India is an agricultural country and one third population depends on the agricultural sector directly or indirectly. As food being essential need of mankind, much emphasis has been on commercializing agricultural production.
Agricultural marketing is mainly the buying and selling of agricultural products. In earlier days when the village economy was more or less self-sufficient the marketing of agricultural products presented no difficulty as the farmer sold his produce to the consumer on a cash or barter basis.
Today's agricultural marketing has to undergo a series of exchanges or transfers from one person to another before it reaches the consumer. There are three marketing functions involved in this, that are;
• preparation for consumption
Selling of any agricultural produce depends on couple of factors like the demand of 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. Moreover, it may be sold as it is gathered from the field or it may be cleaned, graded and processed by the farmer or the merchant of the village. Sometime processing is done because consumers want it, or sometimes to conserve the quality of that product.
Products are sold in various ways. For example, it might be sold at a weekly village market in the farmer's village or in a neighboring village. If these outlets are not available, then produce might be sold at irregularly held markets in a nearby village or town, or in the mandi.
In India, there are several central government organizations, who are involved in agricultural marketing like, 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.
Government of India has launched new website called agmarket where prices of all crops in various district and urban markets are compiled and updated on daily basis. These prices include grain, pulses prices, fruits and vegetable prices, meat, fish prices, rare cereals and pulse, fruit prices.
Importance of Agriculture Marketing
• Agricultural products are perishable; therefore, a failure to sell on time results in wasted harvest. All wasted harvest represents a cost of land, water, labor, storage - and no income to show for it.
• Agricultural prices can be quite variable, impacted by changes in weather and harvests in far corners of the world.
• Farmers seek higher prices for their produce, and protection from price fluctuations. They may also work to open up new markets or channels, such as selling directly to consumers instead of through producers.
Interests of Farmers, Manufacturers, Traders and Consumers in Agriculture Marketing System
The farmer's interest is focused on getting the best return from his produce, which usually equates to maximum price for unlimited quantities.
Manufacturers want least cost, best quality produce from the farmer so that he can sell it at competitive, but profitable, prices.
Traders and retailers want high quality and reliable supplies from the manufacturer or farmer, at the most competitive prices.
Consumers are interested in obtaining high quality products at low prices. Clearly, there are conflicting interests here.
Functions of Agriculture Marketing
A. Exchange Functions: Buying, Selling, Storage,
B. Physical Functions: Transportation, Processing, Standardization
C. Facilitating Functions: Financing, Risk Bearing, Market Intelligence
These agriculture marketing functions performed by farmers, traders, retailers, consumers and manufacturer that rises importance of effective agriculture marketing system in India.
Agro-business sector is dependent on agriculture produce characteristics which are as follows:
Quality: To build a profitable business, food manufacturers seek to establish a preference for their products by differentiating those products in some way which is meaningful to consumers.
Cost: With an increased capability to search the world for raw materials, the food industry is able to find the lowest cost source for any given level of quality.
Non-seasonality: Agricultural products are traditionally seasonal in their production and supply.
Reliability: A manufacturer who has invested heavily in building up his brand will be very keen to get reliable supplies in terms of quality, timing and cost.
Processing: Ease of processing will become an increasingly important expectation of the food industry. Like all industries, reductions in the costs of capital equipment, wages and inventories are important objectives.
Therefore agriculture marketing system is in a way dependant on quality, cost, and processing requirement of agriculture produce.
Agriculture market information system (AMIS) is an international organization for exchange of agriculture produce prices and price trends in various countries. The Global Food Market Information Group works for the agriculture market information system which consists of technical representatives from countries participating in AMIS. It is responsible for providing regular reliable, accurate, timely and comparable data regarding the supply and demand position and its probable short term development, as well as regarding prices, of the AMIS crops. Furthermore, it organizes the timely collection of national policy developments that could impact the market situation and outlook. Website showcases statistics that provides summary tables of the main data items currently covered by AMIS. There are production, supply, utilization, trade and closing stocks.
The CCS (Chaudhary Charan Singh) National Institute of Agricultural Marketing (NIAM) is a premier National level Institute set up by the Government of India in August 1988 to offer specialized Training, Research, Consultancy and Education in Agricultural Marketing. It is involved in research and analysis of agriculture produces prices of Indian crops. NIAM is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. It was set up as a Registered Society to cater to the needs of Agricultural Marketing personnel in India as well as from South East Asian countries.
Agriculture Marketing Jobs
There are agriculture marketing jobs in government and private sector of agri-business responsible for
• handling media relations, issue press releases, respond to negative press, and arrange for coverage of positive developments and important legislative issues
• developing official statements, question-and-answer documents, background materials, positioning messages, and other communications materials
• developing their organization’s public identity and branding (for example, by promoting the company’s dedication to “organic” methods, or reputation for quality)
• developing educational/promotional materials informing about their industry