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.
Agricultural Marketing in India
India is an agricultural country and one third population depends on the agricultural sector directly or indirectly. Agriculture remains as the main stray of the Indian economy since times immemorial. Indian agriculture contribution to the national gross domestic product (GDP) is about 25 per cent. With food being the crowning need of mankind, much emphasis has been on commercialising agricultural production. For this reason, adequate production and even distribution of food has of late become a high priority global concern.
Most of the agricultural products in India are sold by farmers in the private sector to moneylenders (to whom the farmer may be indebted) or to village traders. 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 organisations, 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 specialised marketing bodies for rubber, tea, coffee, tobacco, spices and vegetables.
Agricultural Marketing in Odisha (India):
A Central Government led scheme National Agriculture Market (NAM) has been implemented in state. It is an pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
The NAM Portal provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services. This includes commodity arrivals & prices, buy & sell trade offers, provision to respond to trade offers, among other services. While material flow (agriculture produce) continue to happen through mandis, an online market reduces transaction costs and information asymmetry.
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Agriculture marketing is administered by the States as per their agri-marketing regulations, under which, the State is divided into several market areas, each of which is administered by a separate Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) which imposes its own marketing regulation (including fees). This fragmentation of markets, even within the State, hinders free flow of agri commodities from one market area to another and multiple handling of agri-produce and multiple levels of mandi charges ends up escalating the prices for the consumers without commensurate benefit to the farmer.
NAM addresses these challenges by creating a unified market through online trading platform, both, at State and National level and promotes uniformity, streamlining of procedures across the integrated markets, removes information asymmetry between buyers and sellers and promotes real time price discovery, based on actual demand and supply, promotes transparency in auction process, and access to a nationwide market for the farmer, with prices commensurate with quality of his produce and online payment and availability of better quality produce and at more reasonable prices to the consumer.
- A national e-market platform for transparent sale transactions and price discovery initially in regulated markets. Willing States to accordingly enact suitable provisions in their APMC Act for promotion of e-trading by their State Agricultural Marketing Board/APMC.
- Liberal licensing of traders / buyers and commission agents by State authorities without any pre-condition of physical presence or possession of shop /premises in the market yard.
- One license for a trader valid across all markets in the State.
- Harmonisation of quality standards of agricultural produce and provision for assaying (quality testing) infrastructure in every market to enable informed bidding by buyers. Common tradable parameters have so far been developed for 69 commodities.
- Single point levy of market fees, i.e on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer.
- Provision of Soil Testing Laboratories in/ or near the selected mandi to facilitate visiting farmers to access this facility in the mandi itself. M/s. Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. is the Strategic Partner (SP) who is responsible for development, operation and maintenance of the platform. The broad role of the Strategic Partner is comprehensive and includes writing of the software, customizing it to meet the specific requirements of the mandis in the States willing to integrate with NAM and running the platform