Amis and Marketing of Horticultural Crops in Kerala, India
CPRafrica 2012/CPRsouth7 Conference, Port Louis, Mauritius, September 5-7, 2012
16 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 6, 2012
In most developing countries, including India, agriculture is moving away from traditional self sufficiency goals (subsistence) to a more responsive activity (commercialization). In this changed scenario, an efficient marketing system is central to future growth of the sector.
The role of ICTs in marketing of agricultural outputs has been much debated and discussed. In the context of developing countries, it has been suggested that ICTs can play a significant positive role by improving arbitrage and reducing information asymmetries. On the other hand, there is a strong evidence to suggest that potential gains due to use of ICTs, are offset by socio-cultural, infrastructural and institutional bottlenecks.
Nonetheless, setting up and improving Agricultural Marketing Information System (AMIS) has been identified as one of the priority areas in several policy documents. Report of the Working Group on 'Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure and Policy required for internal and external trade' for XI Five Year Plan, Government of India states that 'there is a need to develop a comprehensive ‘Agricultural Marketing Information System’ that can be used to deliver a package of information to assist small farmers and entrepreneurs at the village level so as to enable them to take well-informed business decisions and minimize business risks. In accordance with such policy statements, several states in India have taken steps to set up AMIS 'to provide marketing information to support marketing decision making, ensure sale at markets where there is a demand, shorten marketing channels, cut down on transport costs and enable fair transactions'.
Horticultural crops are highly vulnerable to market fluctuations. Problems due to perishable nature of the crop are compounded by lack of storage facilities, weak infrastructure, and poor transport. This often leads to market glut and distress sale at low paying outlets. Hence, special emphasis is being given to developing AMIS for marketing of horticultural crops by many states in the country.
Market Information Centre (MIC) in Kerala were established for creating an information system that can provide vital market information to the fruit and vegetable farmers of the state. MIC acts as a reliable data bank, which is used as a base for fixing price in farmer markets across the state. In addition, past market data is used in production planning and price forecasting.
This paper describes the use of price information provided by MIC by local farmers’ markets for fixing prices and banana cultivators for making transactions. The study was conducted in Wayanad district (the largest producer of banana in the state) of Kerala, India. Data collection was done using structured schedule and in depth interviews. Information on price realized was collected from both users and non users of MIC centres and local farmers’ market to test whether market information through ICTs yields better prices.
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