Lesson-26 Agricultural Marketing – Meaning & Importance


Production is the half the work done for any producer, either a farmer or an agribusiness firm. The other half consists of marketing the product so that it reaches the consumer. In the following chapters we will be discussing various aspects of the agricultural marketing. In the present chapter, we will understand the concept and meaning of agricultural marketing, its scope and its importance.


The term agricultural marketing is composed of two words-agriculture and marketing. Agriculture, in the broadest sense, means activities aimed at the use of natural resources for human welfare, i.e., it includes all the primary activities of production. But, generally, it is used to mean growing and/or raising crops and livestock. Marketing connotes a series of activities involved in moving the goods from the point of production to the point of consumption. It includes all the activities involved in the creation of time, place, form and possession utility.

According to Thomsen, the study of agricultural marketing, comprises all the operations, and the agencies conducting them, involved in the movement of farm-produced foods, raw materials and their derivatives, such as textiles, from the farms to the final consumers, and the effects of such operations on farmers, middlemen and consumers. This definition does not include the input side of agriculture.

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. The agricultural marketing system is a link between the farm and the non – farm sectors. It includes the organization of agricultural raw materials supply to processing industries, the assessment of demand for farm inputs and raw materials, and the policy relating to the marketing of farm products and inputs.

According to the National Commission on Agriculture (XII Report), agricultural marketing is a process which starts with a decision to produce a saleable farm commodity, and it involves all the aspects of market structure or system, both functional and institutional, based on technical and economic considerations, and includes pre-and post-harvest operations, assembling, grading, storage, transportation and distribution.


A study of the agricultural marketing system is necessary to an understanding of the complexities involved and the identification of bottlenecks with a view to providing efficient services in the transfer of farm products and inputs from producers to consumers. An efficient marketing system minimizes costs, and benefits all the sections of the society. The expectations from the system vary from group to group; and, generally, the objectives are in conflict. The efficiency and success of the system depends on how best these conflicting objectives are reconciled.

  • Producers: Producer-farmers want the marketing system to purchase their produce without loss of time and provide the maximum share in the consumer’s rupee. They want the maximum possible price for their surplus produce from the system. Similarly, they want the system to supply them the inputs at the lowest possible price.

  • Consumers: The consumers of agricultural products are interested in a marketing system that can provide food and other items in the quantity and of the quality required by them at the lowest possible price. However, this objective of marketing for consumers is contrary to the objective of marketing for the farmer – producers.

  • Market Middlemen and Traders: Market middlemen and traders are interested in a marketing system which provides them a steady and increasing income from the purchase and sale of agricultural commodities. This objective of market middlemen may be achieved by purchasing the agricultural products from the farmers at low prices and selling them to consumers at high prices.

  • Government: The objectives and expectations of all the three groups of society-producers, consumers and market middlemen – conflict with one another. All the three groups are indispensable to society. The government has to act as a watch-dog to safeguard the interests of all the groups associated in marketing. It tries to provide the maximum share to the producer in the consumer’s rupee; food of the required quality to consumers at the lowest possible price; and enough margin to market middlemen so that they may remain in the trade and not think of going out of trade and jeopardize the whole marketing mechanism. Thus, the government wants that the marketing system should be such as may bring about the overall welfare to all the segments of society.


Agricultural marketing in a broader sense is concerned with the marketing of farm products produced by farmers and of farm inputs required by them in the production of these farm products. Thus, the subject of agricultural marketing includes product marketing as well as input marketing.

The subject of output marketing is as old as civilization itself. The importance of output marketing has become more conspicuous in the recent past with the increased marketable surplus of the crops following the technological breakthrough. The farmers produce their products for the markets. Farming becomes market-oriented. Input marketing is a comparatively new subject. Farmers in the past used such farm sector inputs as local seeds and farmyard manure. These inputs were available with them; the purchase of inputs for production of crops from the market by the farmers was almost negligible. The importance of farm inputs-improved seeds, fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides, farm machinery, implements and credit-in the production of farm products has increased in recent years. The new agricultural technology is input-responsive. Thus, the scope of agricultural marketing must include both product marketing and input marketing. In this book, the subject matter of agricultural marketing has been dealt with; both from the theoretical and practical points of view. It covers what the system is, how it functions, and how the given method or techniques may be modified to get the maximum benefits.

Specially, the subject of agricultural marketing includes marketing functions, agencies, channels, efficiency and costs, price spread and market integration, producer’s surplus, government policy and research, training and statistics on agricultural marketing.


Agricultural marketing plays an important role not only in stimulating production and consumption, but in accelerating the pace of economic development. Its dynamic functions are of primary importance in promoting economic development. For this reason, it has been described as the most important multiplier of agricultural development. The importance of agricultural marketing in economic development has been indicated in the paragraphs that follow.

  • Optimization of Resource use and Output Management: An efficient agricultural marketing system leads to the optimization of resource use and output management. An efficient marketing system can also contribute to an increase in the marketable surplus by scaling down the losses arising out of inefficient processing, storage and transportation. A well-designed system of marketing can effectively distribute the available stock of modern inputs, and thereby sustain a faster rate of growth in the agricultural sector.

  • Increase in Farm Income: An efficient marketing system ensures higher levels of income for the farmers by reducing the number of middlemen or by restricting the commission on marketing services and the malpractices adopted by them in the marketing of farm products. An efficient system guarantees the farmers better prices for farm products and induces them to invest their surpluses in the purchase of modern inputs so that productivity and production may increase. This again results in an increase in the marketed surplus and income of the farmers. If the producer does not have an easily accessible market-outlet where he can sell his surplus produce, he has little incentive to produce more. The need for providing adequate incentives for increased production is, therefore, very important, and this can be made possible only by streamlining the marketing system.

  • Widening of Markets: A well-knit marketing system widens the market for the products by taking them to remote corners both within and outside the country, i.e., to areas far away from the production points. The widening of the market helps in increasing the demand on a continuous basis, and thereby guarantees a higher income to the producer.

  • Growth of Agro-based Industries: An improved and efficient system of agricultural marketing helps in the growth of agrobased industries and stimulates the overall development process of the economy. Many industries depend on agriculture for the supply of raw materials.

  • Price Signals: An efficient marketing system helps the farmers in planning their production in accordance with the needs of the economy. This work is carried out through price signals.

  • Adoption and Spread of New Technology: The marketing system helps the farmers in the adoption of new scientific and technical knowledge. New technology requires higher investment and farmers would invest only if they are assured of market clearance.

  • Employment: The marketing system provides employment to millions of persons engaged in various activities, such as packaging, transportation, storage and processing. Persons like commission agents, brokers, traders, retailers, weigh-men, hamals, packagers and regulating staff are directly employed in the marketing system. This apart, several others find employment in supplying goods and services required by the marketing system.

  • Addition to National Income: Marketing activities add value to the product thereby increasing the nation’s gross national product and net national product.

  • Better Living: The marketing system is essential for the success of the development programmes which are designed to uplift the population as a whole. Any plan of economic development that aims at diminishing the poverty of the agricultural population, reducing consumer food prices, earning more foreign exchange or eliminating economic waste has, therefore, to pay special attention to the development of an efficient marketing for food and agricultural products.

  • Creation of Utility: Marketing is productive, and is as necessary as the farm production. It is, in fact, a part of production itself, for production is complete only when the product reaches a place in the form and at the time required by the consumers. Marketing adds cost to the product; but, at the same time, it adds utilities to the product. The following four types of utilities of the product are created by marketing:

  • Form Utility: The processing function adds form utility to the product by changing the raw material into a finished form. With this change, the product becomes more useful than it is in the form in which it is produced by the farmer. For example, through processing, oilseeds are converted into oil, sugarcane into sugar, cotton into cloth and wheat into flour and bread. The processed forms are more useful than the original raw materials.

  • Place Utility: The transportation function adds place utility to products by shifting them to a place of need from the place of plenty. Products command higher prices at the place of need than at the place of production because of the increased utility of the product.

  • Time Utility: The storage function adds time utility to the products by making them available at the time when they are needed.

  • Possession Utility: The marketing function of buying and selling helps in the transfer of ownership from one person to another. Products are transferred through marketing to persons having a higher utility from persons having a low utility.

Last modified: Wednesday, 9 October 2013, 8:45 AM