continues to be main stay of life for majority of the Indian population.
It contributes around 25% of the GDP and employs 65% of the
workforce in the country. Significant
strides have been made in agriculture production since independence.
The agriculture production of food grains increased from 51 million
tones in 1950-51 i.e. before beginning of the 1st Five Year
Plan to 213 million tones in 2003-04.
The output of oilseeds went up to 23 million tones. Similarly, the
production of fruit and vegetables also increased to more than 134 million
tones. The subject of agriculture and agricultural marketing is dealt with
both by the States as well as the Central government in the country.
from 1951, the different Five Year Plans laid stress on development of
physical markets, on farm and off farm storage structures, facilities for
standardization and grading, packaging, transportation etc..
Development of horticulture marketing attracted attention of policy
makers during the 3rd Five Year Plan. The year 1965 witnessed coming into existence of Central
Warehousing Corporation, Food Corporation of India, Agricultural Prices
Commission (later renamed as Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices)
and several other organizations. Besides
number of organizations were set up in the form of commodity boards,
cooperative federations and export promotion councils for monitoring and
boosting the production, consumption, marketing and export of various
agricultural commodities. The prominent among them included Cotton
Corporation of India Limited (CCI), the Jute Corporation of India Ltd. (JCI),
the National Cooperative Development Corporation Ltd. (NCDC), the National
Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation Ltd. (NAFED), the National
Tobacco Growers Federation Ltd. (NTGF), the Tribal Cooperative Marketing
Development Federation Ltd. (TRIFED), the National Consumers Cooperative
Federation Ltd. (NCCF), etc for procurement and distribution of
commodities; and the Tea Board, Coffee Board, Coir Board, Rubber Board,
Tobacco Board, Spices Board, Coconut Board, Central Silk Board, the
National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), National Horticulture Board (NHB),
State Trading Corporation (STC), Agricultural & Processed Foods Export
Development Authority (APEDA), Marine Products Export Development
Authority (MPEDA), the Indian Silk Export Promotion Council, the
Cashewnuts Export Promotion Council of India (CEPC), etc. for promotion of
production and exports of specific commodities.
agricultural commodity markets generally operate under the normal forces
of demand and supply. However,
with a view to protecting farmersí interest and to encourage them to
increase production, the Government also fixes minimum support/statutory
prices for some crops and makes arrangements for their purchase on state
account whenever their price falls below the support level.
The role of Government normally is limited to protecting the
interests of producers and consumers, only in respect of wage goods, mass
consumption goods and essential goods.
The role of Government is promoting organized marketing of
agricultural commodities in the country through a network of regulated
markets. To achieve an
efficient system of buying and selling of agricultural commodities, most
of the state Governments and Union Territories have enacted legislations (APMC
Act) to provide for regulation of agricultural produce markets.
The basic objective of setting up of network of physical markets
has been to ensure reasonable gain to the farmers by creating environment
in markets for fair play of supply and demand forces, regulate market
practices and attain transparency in transactions.
With a view to
coping up with the need to handle increasing agricultural production, the
number of regulated markets have also been increasing in the country.
While by the end of 1950, there were 286 regulated markets in the
country, today the number stands at 7521 (31.3.2005). The Central
Government advised all the State Governments to enact Marketing
Legislation to promote competitive and transparent transactional methods
to protect the interests of the farmers.
Barring a few, most of the States and Union Territories embarked
upon a massive programme of regulation of markets after enacting the
legislation. Most of these
regulated markets are wholesale markets. There are in all 7293 wholesale
markets in the country. Besides, the country has 27294 rural periodical
markets, about 15% of which function under the ambit of regulation.
The advent of regulated markets has helped in mitigating the market
handicaps of producers/sellers at the wholesale assembling level.
But, the rural periodic markets in general, and the tribal markets
in particular, remained out of its developmental ambit. The
State-wise distribution of regulated markets and market yards is given in
The area served by each market across the States (Annexure-II)
reveals large variations. The
area served per regulated market varies from 74 sq km in Punjab to 2257 sq
km in Assam. On an average, a
regulated market serves 459 sq km area in the country which is quite high.
Farmers have to travel long distances with their produce to avail the
facility of regulated markets. The National Commission on Agriculture
(1976) had recommended that the facility of regulated
market should be available to the farmers with in a radius of 5 km
and if this is considered a bench mark, the command area of a market
should not exceed 80 sq km. However, in the existing scenario,
except Delhi, Punjab, Chandigarh and Pondicherry, in no State, the density
markets is close to the norm.
The infrastructural amenities available in the regulated markets of
the country are shown in Annexure -III.
Auction platforms are needed in market for settlement of price of
the produce in a congenial atmosphere between buyers and sellers. Both
covered and open auction platforms exist in only two-thirds of the
regulated markets. Some commodities when brought for sale contain higher
moisture than desired level and hence there should be a space for drying.
Presently only one-fourth of the markets have common drying yards.
Trader modules viz. shop, godown and platform in front of shop
exist in 63% of the markets. Cold
storage units are needed in the markets where perishable commodities are
brought for sale. They are
brought for sale only in a few markets.
The cold storage units exist only in 9% of the markets and grading
facilities exist in less than one-third of the markets. The basic
facilities viz. internal roads, boundary walls, electric lights, loading
and unloading facilities and weighing equipment are available in more than
80% of the markets. Farmersí
rest houses exist in more than half of the regulated markets.
It is evident from the above that there is considerable gap in the
facilities available in the market yards.