Performance Evaluation of Regulated Agricultural Markets in Haryana: A case study of Bhiwani District of Haryana
To judge the performance of the regulated agricultural market, economic parameters (market arrivals, income and expenditure pattern) are not the sole indicators of healthy growth and proper performance of agricultural marketing system. It depends on non−economic parameters (physical infrastructural facilities, market information, marketing consciousness and malpractices prevailing in the market etc) also. That’s why, in this paper efforts have been made to study the marketing efficiency of the regulated agricultural market of Bhiwani district based on non−economic parameters by interviewing the sample farmers, commission agents and market committee officials.
Key Words: Regulated Market, Non−Economic Parameters, Infrastructural Facilities, Malpractices.
After green revolution, from chronic hunger and abject dependence on the import of food grains, India has achieved a level of self− sufficiency in terms of production of many crops especially in foodgrains. This increased marketable surplus, needed efficient and easy disposal to provide remunerative price to the farmers otherwise, increased production would have become a burden than a benefit to the farmers. But efficient marketing of agricultural commodities was not easy as there existed number of defects which were used to exploit the farmers. Government sought a solution to correct these defects through Regulated Markets. In India, the beginning of regulation of agricultural marketing can be traced back to the British rule, but the need of regulation of agricultural produce was more emphasized by the Royal Commission. Though several provinces and states enacted legislation for the regulation of agricultural produce markets, not much headway was made till independence. But after the independence, the regulation programme got momentum, because of concerted efforts made by centre and state governments. As a result the number of regulated markets increased from 286(1950−51) to 7157(March 2010).
Keeping in view the significance of regulated agricultural markets, these markets were studied by various researchers and authors from time to time on the basis of different parameters. Some studies examined market functioning and infrastructure facilities in regulated markets (Datta (1998), Jain (1998), Vaikhunthe (2000), Rajesh and Sunderson (2002), Jairath (2004)). Some evaluated the regulated markets performance in terms of market arrivals, income and expenditure on development activities (Singh et.al. (1992), Pendnekar (2003), Khunt et. al. (2008) and Bhunumate (2011)). Some researchers examined the role of commission agents, problems faced by farmers and intensity of farmer’s participation in marketing activity (Khodiar et. al. (2002), Govindrajan et. al. (2006)). In the present research work, an attempt has also been made to examine the performance of regulated agricultural market of Bhiwani district on the
basis of non−economic variables. The main objectives of the study are following
(i) To examine the availability of infrastructural facilities within the market−yard.
(ii) To find out the role of RMC in the dissemination of market information to farmers.
(iii) To identify the malpractices of commission agents / Arthias and traders.
The study was conducted for the principal market yard of Bhiwani district (Haryana). The study basically based on the primary data which were collected from farmers, commission agents/arthias and market committee officials by survey method. For this purpose, a sample of 90 farmers, consisting of three sub−samples from different categories of farmers, 20 commission agents and 15 market committee officials were interviewed for collecting required information to fulfil the objectives of the study. A set of three well−structured questionnaires for farmers, commission agents and market committee officials were used respectively. All the questionnaires were filled by direct interviews and personal visits to farmers, commission
agents and market committee officials during the month of April 2011. After collecting necessary primary data it was tabulated, analyzed and interpreted with the help of some necessary and simple statistical tools such as percentages and averages.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Availability of Physical Infrastructure Facilities for Farmers
Adequate marketing infrastructure is important not only for the performance of various marketing functions and expansion of the size of the market but also for transfer of appropriate price signals leading to improved marketing efficiency. To improve the market efficiency all the necessary basic infrastructural facilities are provided by HSAMB in each regulated market of Haryana.
Table 1 clearly shows that in the selected regulated market there was no Agricultural Business Information Centre (ABIC). Farmers of different categories reported that they even did not know about such type of facility. But during the field survey, when market officials were asked about this facility, they reported that it was available in the mandi yard. Further about the check−posts and gates facilities, the results reveal that only 44.44 percent farmers reported for the facilities of check−posts and gates in mandi yard. In case of covered platforms facility, it is evident from the table that these facilities are available to only 18.89 percent of sample farmers. During field survey, small farmers reported that the facilities of covered platforms was available only to large size farmers because they had big quantity of produce and good contacts with commission agents and market− officials. Furthermore it was found that some essential facilities i.e. weight equipment, service and internal roads, shops and booths, light arrangement and drinking water facilities were in good conditions.
Proper market information makes farmers able to feel the pulse of the market at an appropriate time. Through field survey, an attempt has been made to find out what were the major sources of market Information for the farmers in the regulated market.
Table 2 shows that 85.55 percent of sample farmers get market information through their personal visits to market. The foremost traditional channel of market information is through personal contacts which is clear from the table that 94.44 percent farmers get market information through other farmers. In case of Arthias as source of Information, 60 percent farmers report that they get information from
them. But in case of market committee only 3.33 percent farmers accept it as the source of market information. And all these reported farmers were large sized farmers. According to them, they have some known persons in market committee that’s why they get market information from them. In case of media sources i.e. Radio, Newspaper and T.V. the table shows that 76.67 percent farmers get market information through these sources. To provide proper market information to farmers is one of the major responsibilities of market committee officials. But during survey it is found that only a few large size farmers accept that market committee official provideds them market information.
Malpractices of Arthias/Traders and Market Committee Staff
A number of malpractices prevail in Indian agricultural marketing system. Here through interviewing sample farmers an attempt has been made to find out what kind of malpractices are prevailing in the regulated market.
One of the major contributions of regulated markets has been the regulation of market charges (commission, unloading, cleaning and weighment) particularly those levied on the farmers. During field survey, it was found that many farmers (57.78%) complained not only about the multiplicity of charges but also that these charges were not clearly defined and specified. Further analysis of the table 3 reveals the poor situation of grading facility and prevalence of malpractices during grading and cleaning. During survey, it has been observed that these facilities are not adequate in the selected regulated market. There is only cleaning of produce.
This is done partly due to lack of grading equipment and lack of trained labours to carry out the grading of the produce. A large majority (68.89 percent) of farmers expressed their dissatisfaction about the grading and cleaning of their produce. About malpractices during weighing, table 3 shows that 31.11 percent of sample farmers complained about faulty weight, over weighing, arbitrary deductions in weighment and absence of uniform weighment charges. Paying different prices for the same grade of produce in the market is found to be a cause of dissatisfaction among farmers, 85.56 percent farmers accepted it. During survey when asked farmers about unauthorized deductions, 75.56 percent farmers accepted deduction in
material form and 26.67 percent farmers accepted deduction in money form for religious and charitable purposes. During field survey, another form of malpractice that comes out is the huge difference between the amount of actual sale and its actual entry in official record by market committee staff. Table’s result reveals that 64.44 percent sample farmers admitted this fact.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
In short we can say that on the basis of non−economic variables, selected regulated market performance was not found to be very good. Although regulation of the markets has improved their functioning, but the existing machinery has failed to check malpractices in the marketing system. Needless to say that in spite of all the regulations, the selected regulated market is still suffering from bottlenecks such as lack of organisation among farmers and the consequent low bargaining power, distress sale, malpractices in the market, inadequate infrastructural facilities and finally the lack of market intelligence and information system. To improve the effectiveness of the regulatory framework and to enable the RMC to play a more effective role, the government has to bring about the desired change in the existing system of agricultural marketing
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