Marketing of agricultural produce is gaining importance all across the world in general and developing world in particular. Agricultural marketing policy in India has been characterized by State participation in production activities; state intervention in procurement and distribution of food grains; directing agricultural economy through regulatory mechanism such as licensing and control on movement, storage; creation of facilitating centers in the form of regulated markets; encouraging co-operative marketing; creation of supporting infrastructure like storage and warehousing; and construction of link roads, market information network, marketing extension, etc. Over the years, to achieve an efficient system of buying, selling, storage and processing of agricultural commodities most of the State Governments enacted Legislations (Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation & Development) Act’s to provide the regulation for marketing and establishment of infrastructure for agricultural produce. The establishment of regulated wholesale markets has helped in creating orderly and transparent market conditions and also in increasing the access of farmers to such orderly markets.
The government of India supports organized marketing and as such physical markets are meant to make sure that the farmers get reasonable profits by creating an atmosphere of fair play. The fairness is with regard to the forces of supply and demand as well as regulation of market practices and transparency in transactions. Wholesale market is a unique place for buying, selling and value addition for food grains and fruits and vegetables, which are centrally located in cities. This is the place where genuine price of farmer’s produce is determined and exchange of goods with services take place. The main function of wholesale market is to facilitate the break up of the large quantities of perishables supplied to the city into assortments, which meet the requirements of different retailers and end users. But apart from this a wholesale market can itself be an integrated business center for various other commercial activities.
Currently, there are more than 7,000 such markets in the country. Most of these regulated markets are wholesale markets. Other than these markets are 27738 rural periodical markets of which 15% function under the ambit of regulation. The rest 85% are managed by local self government institutions or government departments.
Whereas the different institutions have been promoted for undertaking marketing functions on behalf of the farmers structure consisting of :
- Directorate of marketing and inspection
- National Institute of Agricultural Marketing
- National council of state agricultural marketing boards
- State agricultural marketing boards
- Agricultural produce marketing committees
Role of such institutions in promotion of agricultural marketing has been and well recognized in India since independence. The state agricultural marketing boards under the control of provincial Governments are implementing respective schemes and programmes for development of market infrastructure including wholesale markets. The National level autonomous body acting as association of State Agricultural Marketing Boards, popularly known as COSAMB (National Council of State Agricultural Marketing Boards) is actively engaged in coordinating activities and mutual sharing of meaningful information between member Boards. It has the mandate of coordination with international agencies, inviting technologies and systems for improving agricultural marketing in the country.
Now we are on threshold of re defining our roles and restructuring ourselves to meet the fast changing dynamics of agri business world and the rising expectation of the modern farming practices. Today we seek to help our farmer to get maximum benefit by providing latest market information in prices and particularly trade practices. It is the need of the day to respond to the changing trends in agriculture at global level.
COSAMB/SAMB’s lay focus on bringing professionalism in management of wholesale markets and encouraging investments in the sector. The focus in recent times has been on improvement of modern marketing infrastructure in general and modern wholesale market yards including terminal markets in particular. Recently, the Government of India has opened up this sector de-monopolizing the Government owned agencies and inviting private investment in development and owning of wholesale markets. The COSAMB/SAMB’s has been playing catalytic role to achieve this endeavor. As per recent reforms brought in by Government of India, the role of State Marketing Board has been envisaged as “Regulator” instead of an enforcement agency. This would provide a level playing field for private and government investment. In such circumstances, the role of COSAMB would be evolved much more at the National level to coordinate between various agencies in the interest of member Boards. The National status of COSAMB is now well recognized and member states are taking part in day to day activities more aggressively.