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India has now entered a new era of globalisation and economic liberalization. The possibilities of increased trade in the global markets demand that the country becomes efficient, competitive and innovative both in production and marketing. It is time that we stopped being preoccupied only with increasing production: attention to marketing is equally important. In fact, it is worth remembering that marketing is as critical an input for production as are seeds, irrigation, fertilizer, etc.
The agricultural marketing scenario in the country is fast changing and will need to be restructured and reoriented to fully meet the need arising from the globalization process. The areas where new initiatives and measures are required need to be identified and attended to. Much smaller countries, by adopting strong and effective marketing strategies, have been able to export to competitive areas and thus have not only strengthened their economic position but have also contributed to the general welfare of the farming community of these ;countries. India needs to emulate such countries and adopt effective and aggressive marketing policies so lt has its export of agricultural commodities is enhanced.
AGRICULTURAL MARKETING IN INDIA
Agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian economy and represents one- third of the country’GDP. During the last four decades, it received a very high priority. There are 35 agro-climatic regions in the country with wide variations in agricultural production patterns and practices. The application of scientific techniques, coupled with government policies and programmes in the agricultural sector, has helped in increasing the production of several commodities including food-grains and the resultant marketable surplus has touched new heights, transforming Indian agriculture from subsistence to a near commercial enterprise. The production of food-grains during 1994-95 is expected to touch an all-time high of 185 million tonnes, which are 3 million tones more than the production during the previous year. Food-grains production during 1965-66 was a mere 72 million tonnes. Sugarcane production is likely to it is to 245 million tonnes in 1994-95 against 233 million tonnes in 1993-94 compared to 120 million tonnes in 1965-66. Production of oil-seeds almost tripled from 6.35 million tonnes in 1965-66 to 19.2 million tonnes in 1992-93. Production of kharif oil-seeds alone was estimated at 12 million tonnes during 1993-94. Production increase in the case of fibres such as cotton, jute and Mesta was also witnessed. So also in the case of fruits and vegetables.
Agricultural marketing is broadly concerned with developing new products to satisfy emerging needs of the consumers and to capitalize on newly identified market opportunities. It also includes reappraising and modifying existing products in the perspective of changing requirements of the modern society.