Agricultural Marketing involves a series of business activities or services associated with the transfer of agricultural commodities from the producers or farmers to the consumers. It is concerned with the movement of livestock and crops from thousands of scattered small-size farm where they are produced to the thousands of consumers located in rural and urban centres. Agricultural marketing includes the selling of farm inputs to farmers or the purchasing of farm inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, chemicals, implementation and the disposal of agricultural commodities to the final consumers or users. Marketing is a process, a function or an act of selling and thereby settling prices through the forces of supply and demand for that commodity. It involves all stages of operation which helps to move products from the farms to the ultimate consumers. These stages include assembling, preparation, grading, processing, packaging, storage, transportation, distribution, publicity and selling of products.
Stages/Functions involved in agricultural marketing
Marketing involves different stages. These stages are also referred to as marketing functions or services which are performed by the agricultural market agents or system. The stages or functions include:
7. Advertisement and publicity
This involves collecting farm products from different farmers so that they will be available in large quantities to attract buyers. This function can be performed by the farmer himself, an itinerant buyer or by a local market place.
It involves separating product using specifications or standard grading is needed to maintain high quality, enable good pricing policies and to promote exports. Some factors considered during grading include evenness of size, shape and quality, condition, purity, flavor and freedom from pest and diseases. This function of grading can be performed by the farmer, marketing organization or board and the wholesaler or retailer.
This involves changing the original form of the farm commodity to a more acceptable form to the consumer. Many farm products are processed before they are consumed. For example, cassava tubers are processed to garri, fruit and vegetables may be canned, seed cotton is ginned and spun into yarn. Processing increases the utility of most farm products. It also increases their value and price. The processing function can be performed by the farmers and the processors.
This function involves putting farm products in small parcels or bundles. This makes some products such as eggs and sugar easier to handle. It also helps to compact others such as tobacco and cotton, by pressing them into bales. Packaging saves storage space and transport costs. It helps to keep products clean and protect them from damage at the same time adding value. Packaging can be performed by the farmer, processor, and other marketing agents such as the wholesalers.
This involves keeping farm commodities for future use. The consumers demand for farm products very little throughout the year, but most farm production is seasonal. Storage or ware housing is necessary to make the product available throughout the year. Storage of farm produce can be done by the farmer or middleman.
This involves carrying of farm commodities from one place to another. All surplus farm produce needs some transport to the market place
This service can be provided by the farmer or middlemen. Where the roads are poor, transport cost is usually very high. This affects both the consumer and producer prices.
It is concerned with making the existence of a farm product known to people. This is very important before products are distributed to stimulate or create demand. The creation of awareness for a product and stimulating demand is the task of advertising and other promotional activities. This is very useful to farmers selling uncontrolled products on the free market. The newspapers, electronic media like radio/television, farming press, sales literature, agricultural shows and trade fairs can be used to advertise farm commodities.
Distribution is concerned with sending or spreading out farm commodities from production area to individuals and places where they are needed. Traders, wholesalers and retailers help in the distribution network.
This involves buying and selling of farm commodities, through the negotiation of prices that are paid by buyers or received by sellers.
Importance of Agricultural Marketing
The marketing of agricultural products has aimed great importance with movement from subsistence to commercial agriculture. This is because of the fact that excess production from the farms must be disposed off in order to earn income with which the farmers can purchase other goods and services not produced by them. Agricultural marketing is therefore making great contributions to the economic development of most developing countries such as Nigeria and Ghana. Specifically, the importance or contribution of Agricultural marketing in the economic development of the country include :
Marketing makes it possible for farm products from farmers scattered in different places to reach the consumers in the farm, place and time they wanted.
Efficient marketing system location where there are surplus of farm produce and bring them to where there are shortages.
It is often time consuming for small farmers to take their surplus to a market place. Therefore, a middleman, a store keeper or itinerant trader buys from many farmers and sells to a marketing organization or directly to consumers.
An efficient marketing system gives farmers higher prices but also gives consumers lower ones and thus expand their buying power.
Marketing conditions influence the production of goods and services. This is because consumers show preference for products through the prices they are prepared to pay. This affects production decisions of farmers as they are most likely to produce commodities which are of high demand.
Production and marketing are often regarded as an integrated whole. This is due to the fact that an efficient marketing system ensures that agricultural inputs or resources are allocated efficiently. It means that farmers are most likely to shift resources from production of farm commodities having low demand and prices to the production of those commodities with high demand and prices.
Agricultural marketing provides employment for people who perform the different marketing functions such as assemblage, grading, transportation and others.
The need to improve the marketing of farm commodities creates incentives for government to development to develop infrastructure such as roads, water, storage facilities and others in rural areas to achieve market efficiency.
Marketing helps to stimulate research into the techniques of preserving agricultural products and the preparation of commodities to meet the different taste of consumers.
Agricultural marketing creates the multiplier effect in the economy for example, industries will develop to produce package materials for product and pee would be employed to be able to meet the demand.
The efficient marketing system ensures that products that are seasonal become available throughout the year with little price variation that can be attributed to the cost of storage function.
Agricultural Marketing Agents
Agricultural marketing agents are the institution, organization individuals that carry out or perform marketing functions and offer marketing services. Agents involved in the marketing of farm commodities includes :