Research Project


         1.    Problems in Marketing of Oranges in Vidarbha

         2.    Managing vegetable marketing in hill Region of Uttar Pradesh

Marketing of minor fruits with reference to constraints in production, marketing and their solution


         4.    Production and Marketing of  Vegetables in Bihar


         5.    A study on Dynamics of Marketing of Selected Fruits in Bihar


Research Project

 Under Research Grant Scheme (Plan)


Name of the Organisation                          :-   DR. PANJABRAO  DESHMUKH  KRISHI

                                                                        VIDYAPEETH,   AKOLA  (MAHARASHTRA).

Topic of Project                                          :-    Problems in Marketing of Oranges in Vidarbha.

Name of the Principal Investigator             :-    B.D. Bhole 



                Citrus fruits occupy an  important  position in India’s fruit production.  Citrus fruits which include sweet oranges, lemon, mandrin, lime, etc.  Are primarily consumed as fresh fruits. These fruits are processed on mainly to prepare squash, juice, marmalade and pickles.  These fruits are  rich source of  vitmain-’C’  and mineral salts.  Mandarin orange which is an important  citrus fruit is grown on large  scale in Nagpur and Amravati districts of Vidarbha region.  Its cultivation is now   spread in Wardha district also.  These fruits are  popularly known as  “Nagpur santra”.  Area under orange crop in Vidarbha   region is about 65,000  hectares with annual production of about 4.25  lakh tons.  Farmers, pre-harvest  contractors, commission agents, wholesalers and  retailers are the various functionaries involved in marketing of oranges.  These  agencies perform different  activities in the marketing of oranges by which the orange fruits reach the ultimate consumer.  These functionaries face different  problems which  affect the marketing system of oranges and put the producer on one hand and the consumer on the other at a great loss.  The present investigation was  undertaken  to study  the orange marketing  system and the problems  faced by various functionaries in   the  marketing of  oranges.  The specific objectives  of  the present study were as under :

(i)     To  identify the socio-economic characteristics of the selected orange growers.

(ii)    To study the present practice of  marketing of oranges.

(iii)   To study the problems relating to packaging, grading, storage and transportation of oranges at the farm level.

(iv)      To identify and study the problems in  marketing of oranges  at  the market level.

(v)       To suggest the measures to overcome the problems in orange marketing at the farm and market level.

4.1          The present study was  located in Amravati and Nagpur districts of Vidarbha which together account for more than 90  per cent of the total area under orange crop in Vidarbha.  Two  orange markets from Amravati district namely Amravati and Warud and three markets from Nagpur district namely Kalmeshwar, Katol and Narkhed were selected for the present study.  Thus the study covers total five markets.  All these markets are mainly producers’  markets,  and  are  administratively controlled by the Agricultural Produce Market Committee  (APMC).  The main functionaries operating in these  markets are commission agents / dalals and wholesalers.  The Agricultural Produce Market Committee  are manned by Secretary,  Joint Secretary, Accountant, Market Inspector and Clerk.  In 1995-96 average per  quintal price of oranges in the markets under  study was Rs.387 and Rs.602 for  in Ambia and Mrig bahar,  respectively.  In  all the markets, orange prices in Mrig bahar were higher than Ambia bahar.

                For farm level study, a sample of 90 farmers was drawn from Amravati  and Nagpur districts.  Farm level data on production and prices of oranges from these farmers were collected for two agricultural years i.e. 1994-95 and 1995-96.  For studying the role and problems of intermediaries, a sample of 50 pre-harvest contractors, 50 wholesalers, 25 retailers, 45 commission agents, 25 packing centres and 25 transport agencies was drawn from the selected markets.  Data from the farmers and the intermediaries were collected by personal interview method in a specially designed schedule.  Secondary  data on market arrival, prices, etc.  were collected from the reports of  various Agricultural Produce Market Committees.  Simple tabular analysis was adopted as the analytical tool for accomplishing the  objectives of  the study. 

4.2          At  overall level the orange grower, on an average possessed 3.77 hectares of  land out of which 3.39 hectares land was under cultivation.  Average cropping intensity on selected farms was 119 per cent.  On an average orange growers possessed  1.54  gardens per orange grower.  Average number of orange trees  per garden at   the  time  of plantation was 377 while number of trees survived was 341  (90 per cent).  Majority of the farmers (54  per cent)  had more than 200 orange trees in the garden.

4.3          Average number of  bearing trees per farm in 1994-95 and 1995-96 were 228 and 109 respectively.  Average  production of fruits per hectare in 1994-95  and 1995-96 was 62,314  and 71,769  respectively.  Per tree fruit  production for the corresponding years was 221 and 254,  respectively.  Taking Ambia  and  Mrig bahar together 30.43  per cent farmers obtained more than 25,000 fruits per farm.  An equal proportion  of the farmers obtained on an average more than 75,000 fruits during 1995-96.  On an average  marketable surplus in oranges  constituted 97.30 per cent of the total production of fruits per farm.

4.4             4.4            Most commonly followed methods of sale of oranges in the study area were  (i)  selling fruits to the  pre-harvest  contractor  and  (ii)  selling fruits in the Agricultural Produce market committees.  It was observed that 79 per cent  farmers sold their produce to the pre-harvest  contractor while 21 per cent farmers sold the produce in the APMC.  No farmer sold his produce in the distant market.  Regarding proportion of  produce,  81  per cent of the total produce was sold through pre-harvest  contractors while 19 per cent  produce was sold in the APMC.  High risk of spoilage of fruits, no guarantee of remunerative prices in other methods of sale and easy  terms of payment by the pre-harvest contractors  were the important reasons quoted by the farmers for their preference to the pre-harvest  contractors.  Some farmers (21 per cent)  preferred  to sell their produce in the Agricultural Produce Market Committees.  Reasons quoted by these farmers  for  selling the fruits in APMC  were the expectation of higher net price in APMC  and  informal relations of the farmers with the wholesalers  operating in the Agricultural Produce Market Committees.

                The pre-harvest contractor in general harvest the fruits from garden he has purchased in two pluckings.  More than 60 per cent  of the fruits are harvested in first plucking.   The payment made by the pre-harvest contractor to the farmer after each plucking  is in the proportion of the produce  harvested.

4.5          The pre-harvest contractors and wholesaler sold  almost entire produce procured by them in the distant  market  of big  cities.  Higher price in the distant  consumer markets tempted the pre-harvest contractor and wholesalers to sell the produce in these  markets.

4.6          Farmers  selling their produce  to the pre-harvest contractor did not incure any marketing cost.  However, farmers who  sold the produce in the Agricultural Produce  Market Committee incurred an expenditure of Rs.67.57 per  thousand orange fruits.  Transportation cost was main item of marketing  cost of the farmer.  Marketing cost in Mrig bahar was higher  (Rs.82.69 per thousand  fruits)  than the Ambia bahar  (Rs.62.77  per thousand fruits).  Marketing cost of the pre-harvest contractor in the APMC  was Rs.53.10  per thousand fruits.  In  distant market sale in loose and box consignment,  the pre-harvest contractors incurred  total  marketing  cost of Rs.274.74  and Rs.501.59,   respectively.  In both   of  these methods, transportation accounted for the highest proportion of the total  marketing cost.  Total marketing cost of  wholesaler in distant market sale in loose and box consignment was Rs.242.00   and Rs.465.30  per thousand fruits,  respectively.  Marketing cost  of local retailer was Rs.36.15  per thousand fruits.

4.7          Four marketing channels were observed  in marketing of oranges in  the study area.  In  the first channel the produce moved from producer to pre-harvest contractor, local wholesaler,  retailer  and then consumer.  In the second channel the produce moved from producer to the local consumer through  local wholesaler and retailer.  In third channel the produce moved from producer to the distant consumer  through pre-harvest contractor, distant  market  wholesalers and then  retailer in the  distant  market,  while in the fourth channel  local wholesaler distant market wholesaler and retailer were involved in the movement of fruits from producer  to the distant market consumer.    In  distant markets fruits were carried in trucks either as loose  or in boxes.  For Ambia bahar  producers received average price of Rs.199=00  per thousand fruits in channel-I   and channel-III   (loose and box  consignment)  and Rs.271.00  per thousand fruits in channel-II  and channel-IV  (loose and box consignment).  Producer’s  share in the consumer’s  price was highest in channel-II  (42.21  per cent)  and lowest in channel-III (17.83)  in which the local wholesaler purchases  the fruits from the pre-harvest contractor and send the same to the distant markets in wooden boxes.

                In mrig bahar prices received by the farmers were higher, being Rs.447.50 per thousand fruits in channel-I  and channel-III  and Rs.493.17  in channel-II  and channel-IV.  As in case of Ambia bahar, in Mrig bahar also producer’s   share in consumer’s  price was highest in channel-II  (46.57 per cent)  and lowest being  25.08  per cent in channel-III  (box consignment).

4.8          Farmers and the various functionaries working in market face numerous  problems in orange fruit  trading.  Farmers either sell their produce to the pre-harvest contractor before harvest   or they sell it in the nearby Agricultural Produce Market Committee.  Main problems encountered by the farmers while dealing with pre-harvest contractor were

W              Delayed payment

W              Delayed harvesting of oranges

W              Breaking contract if the orange prices slash down

W              Cut in the payment of farmer in the event of loss of   fruit due to dropping.              

                                When  the farmers sell their produce in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee, they face following problems.

W              High commission charges.

W              High transportation and loading and unloading charges.

W              No guarantee of remunerative prices.

W              Delayed payment by  commission agents.

 4.9          Functionaries  working in the market also face various problems. The pre-harvest contractors who purchase the fruits from the farmers face the problems  while dealing with the farmers.  These problems arise mainly due to :

(i)         Lapses on the part of farmers in the management of garden resulting in deterioration of  quality of fruits.

(ii)        Problems of natural calamities  (theft of fruits, losses due to rains, pest, etc.).

(iii)       Problems of storage facilities (lack of cold storage at local place).

(iv)       Packing problem  (costly packing material and non-availability of skilled labour).

(v)        Transport Problems  (high transportation cost and non-availability of  transport means in time).

(vi)       Grading problems (non-availability of suitable mechanical graders)

4.10        The problem  faced by the wholesalers related to the

(i)          Transport (costly and inadequate road transport).

(ii)         Labour problem (inadequate labour supply during season).

(iii)        Packing problem (costly packing material).

(iv)         Financial problems (lack of finance)  and

(v)          Problems related to the infrastructural facilitates in the market yard.

4.11        The Packing centre owners face following problems in  their business.

(i)            Costly packing material.

(ii)           Inadequate and inefficient labour supply for packing work.

(iii)          Lack of infrastructure facilities like cold storage, telephone, etc.  and

(iv)          Financial problems.

4.12        Retailers in the local market also have their own problems,  the important among them being

(i)              Risk of spoilage of fruits due to their perishable nature.

(ii)            Costly transport and

(iii)           Lack of proper shops / space in the local market to display  the fruits.

4.13        Processing of oranges is highly profitable.  There are few orange processing units in the study area.  These units produce sulphited orange juice,  orange squash, orange marmalade and  orange slices.  Processing of orange into these products is highly profitable.  The profits and the rate  of  return  in all these products are quite high.


Conclusions and Policy Implications:

                The following conclusions emerges from the present study:

(1)         The pre-harvest contractor is the main agency to whom the produce is sold by the farmers.

(2)        Marketing cost for wooden box consignment of oranges in distant markets is very high.  Alternative methods  of packing of oranges therefore, need to be developed.

(3)     Orange prices in the distant markets of big cities are quite high.  However, because of existence of intermediaries farmers cannot take advantage of these prices.  Marketing of oranges on cooperative basis can help the farmer in getting higher prices for their produce.

(4)       The farmers are at disadvantageous position in terms of their share in the consumer’s price in all the marketing channels.  The co-operative or collective marketing of oranges can come to the rescue of farmers in this situation.  The cooperative marketing will eliminate the intermediaries and thereby increase farmers’ share in the consumer’s price.

(5)       Risk due to natural calamities is the main reason for the farmers for selling the produce to the pre-harvest contractor whose terms are generally against the farmers.  The Crop Insurance Scheme, which is applicable for other crops in Maharashtra, should therefore, also be made applicable to orange crop.

(6)       Lack of cold storage facilities in the orange producing area is the main difficulty expressed by producers, pre-harvest contractors and wholesalers.  These facilities should be created in the study area.  Availability of cold storage facilities will help in balancing the supply - demand position and maintaining the price level.

(7)       Presently grading of oranges is done manually which is time consuming.  Mechanical grading devices need to be developed for this purpose.

        Processing of oranges need to be developed in the study area so that farmer can take advantage of ‘ value addition’ to their produce by way of processing.





Research Project

Under Research Grant Scheme


Name of the Institution / :      Department of Agricultural Economics,
                       G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology,
                                              Pant Nagar.


Title / Topic:                          Managing vegetable marketing in hill Region of Uttar Pradesh.


Name of Principal /:                Shri Y.P.S. Arora


The growing importance of vegetables in emerging Indian agricultural economy can be well appreciated in terms of surging domestic demand, high export potential, labour intensive nature, and increasing thrust on commercialization of farm sector. Production of vegetables being highly seasonal and localized in favoured agro-climatic conditions and extreme perishability of the products cause several problems in production, and post harvest management (including marketing) of this group of farm products. Seasonal gluts in the market, distress sale, quantitative and qualitative losses at various stages, high level of price spread, and volatile behaviour of prices are some such problems. Market imperfections, poor infrastructure facilities, and inefficient management of the marketing system add to these problems. Severity of these problems is expected to be more in hill areas, which are capable of producing and supplying good quality of vegetables in off-season but are poor in infrastructure. The present study attempted to examine the current status of vegetable marketing in the hill region of Uttar Pradesh so as to identify the remedial measures for better management of the system.

The study focused on analyzing the various dimensions of vegetable marketing system in hill region of Uttar Pradesh. Specifically the aims of the study were: -

"Estimation of cost of production, marketed and marketable surplus and marketing cost incurred by vegetable growers; examination of marketing strategies used and problems faced by vegetable growers; study of channels, functionaries and problems faced in vegetables marketing; estimation of price spread in different vegetable marketing channels; estimation of degree of integration in vegetable markets; study of spatial and temporal price behaviour of major vegetables; and study of relationship between market arrivals and prices of vegetables".

The study made use of primary as well as secondary data. Primary data, pertaining to 1996 – 97 were obtained from vegetable growers and market functionaries. Secondary data, pertaining to a period of 10 years i.e. from 1986 – 87 to 1995 – 96 (depending on availability and purpose), are obtained from APEDA, NHB, Mandi Parishad, Directorate of Agricultural Marketing (UP) and selected Mandi Offices. The primary data was obtained on well-structured, pre-tested questionnaires, following survey method and scientific sampling technique. The study area includes the entire hill region of Uttar Pradesh. The sample design consists of two principal vegetable markets, eight primary vegetable markets, 17 wholesaler-cum-commission agents, 23 commission agents, 5 contractors, 25 retailers, 5 processors, 22 palledars and 150 vegetable growers.

Simple statistical analysis, using frequency distribution, percentages, averages and measures of dispersion were performed for obtaining results on organization and functioning of vegetable markets; production structure and post harvest management of vegetable growers; physical distribution system; price spreads; etc. Exponential growth equations were estimated on time series of arrivals to obtain compound growth rates therein. Cost of production of vegetables were estimated by using the recent cost concepts. Determinants of the marketed surplus were identified by fitting the linear multiple regression equation, using the Ordinary Least Square method. Trend equations were estimated on temporal price spreads. The degree of market integration was computed by estimating partial correlation coefficients among wholesale prices in major vegetable markets, among retail prices in major vegetable markets, and between wholesale and retail prices within each vegetable market. Decomposition of price variations was done by using the multiplicative model. The model provides seasonal indices, trend and cyclical variations in vegetables prices over time. Inter and intra day variation in vegetable prices was estimated by estimating the coefficients of variation in prices obtained during morning hours, mid day and evening hours through market surveys conducted during peak marketing seasons. Simple linear regression model was used to establish the relationship between market arrivals and prices.

Present study reveals a number of issues for policy makers for not only improving the efficiency of the marketing system but also improving the production efficiency in this bowl of off-seasonal vegetables.

The interest of vegetable growers will be well served if

(i) the input delivery system, particularly for seed, fertilizers and agro-chemicals, is made efficient and farmers’ friendly,

(ii) transport and marketing communication system is improved in the area,

(iii) vegetable production and marketing is made part and parcel of agricultural extension programme, and

(iv) the various provisions of the Agricultural Produce Market Regulation Act, 1964 are implemented faithfully. If these issues are properly looked into not only the production and post harvest management at the farm level will get optimize, the post harvest losses, and the cost will be substantially curtailed. Whereas farmers of hill region may be well advised to divert the maximum possible area from cereals to vegetables, their vegetable production plan should include increased area under capsicum, green pea, ginger, and cabbage. There is a need to take appropriate measures to improve the productivity of vegetables in the area particularly for potato, and a like.

Processing of vegetable is to be promoted on a large scale through small-scale units, cooperative ventures and contract production. It will go a long way in reducing the post harvest losses, increasing returns to growers, stabilizing the prices, and above all in exporting value added products from the region. In this context, role of packaging industry is also very important is supplying environment friendly and cheap packaging materials to growers and processors.

The hill area is to be effectively catered to by the Mandi Parishad if the vegetable production and marketing is to get boost in the area. This may be done by increasing the number of sub-market yards at places like Almora, Bhowali, Garampani, Mussoorie, Dhanaulty and Chamba etc., which are important vegetable belts. Further, in the existing market yards, infrastructure facilities are to be improved to provide efficient storage, weighment, and night stay arrangement for farmers, retail outlets for farmers and safety. These measures will increase marketed surplus and grower’s share in retail price on one hand and will minimize market imperfections and marketing cost in vegetable marketing on the other hand.

Policy Implications

In the emerging scenario of diversification, commercialization and globalization of farm sector, the importance of vegetables has increased manifold. Consequently, the areas suitable to vegetable production are attracting increased attention of well-intentioned people. Hill region of Uttar Pradesh is one such area, which has potential for supplying a variety of vegetable produce round the year. Present study reveals a number of issues for policy makers for not only improving the efficiency of the marketing system but also improving the production efficiency in this bowl of off-seasonal vegetables.

The interest of vegetable growers will be well served if (i) the input delivery system, particularly for seed, fertilizers and agro-chemicals, is made efficient and farmer friendly, (ii) transport and marketing communication system is improved in the area, (iii) vegetable production and marketing is made part and parcel of agricultural extension programme and (iv) the various provisions of the Agricultural Produce Market Regulation Act, 1964 are implemented faithfully. If these issues are properly looked into not only the production and post harvest management at the farm level will get optimize, the post harvest losses, and the cost will be substantially curtailed. Whereas farmers of hill region may be well advised to divert the maximum possible area from cereals to vegetables, their vegetable production plan should include increased area under capsicum, green pea, ginger, and cabbage. There is a need to take appropriate measures to improve the productivity of vegetables in the area particularly for potato, tomato and a like.

Processing of vegetable is to be promoted on a large scale through small-scale units, cooperative ventures and contract production. It will go a long way in reducing the post harvest losses, increasing returns to growers, stabilizing the prices, and above all in exporting value added products from the region. In this context, role of packaging industry is also very important is supplying environment friendly and cheap packaging materials to growers and processors.

The hill area is to  be  effectively  catered  to  by  the Mandi Parishad  if  the  vegetable  production  and marketing is to get boost in  the  area.  This  may  be  done  by  increasing  the  number  of  sub-market yards at places like Almora, Bhowali, Garampani,  Mussoorie,  Dhanaulty  and  Chamba etc.,which  areimportant  vegetable  belts. Further,  in  the  existing  market  yards,  infrastructure  facilities  are  to  be improved to provide efficient storage, weighment, and night stay  arrangement  for farmers,  retail  outlets for farmers and safety.These measures will increase marketed surplus and grower’s share in  retail price on one hand and will minimize market imperfections and marketing cost in vegetable marketing.


“Marketing of minor fruits with reference to constraints in production, marketing and their solution”





            The report of research study on “Marketing of minor fruits with reference to constraints in production, marketing and their solution” is divided into chapters viz. Introduction, review of literature, methodology, results and discussions.  The introduction chapter has brought out clearly the importance, objectives, limitation, scope and utility of this study.  Review of literature chapter has covered area and production of various fruit crops in the State; status and review of minor fruits with reference to production, processing, marketability and export; status and review of cultural practices prevailing for various minor fruits in the State and country etc.  The chapter covers information from different sources on fruits such as ber, pomegranate, fig, custard apple, bullock’s heart, aonla, jamun, phalsa, karonda, jack fruit, strawberry, tamarind, papaya, sapota, kokum, woodapple, carambola and Bael.


            Methodology chapter includes procedure and technique used for study, source of data, sampling procedure, fruits covered under study and system followed regionwise to collect data from producers and market functionaries in the State.


            Under results and discussions, the data is presented and discussed regionwise viz. Vidarbha, Konkan, Marathwada and Western Maharashtra.


            In Vidarbha region, it was reported that minor fruits account for about 7094.83 hectares.  Ber alone form 65.29 per cent of the total area which is highest followed by Custard Apple and pomegranate.  These three fruit crops alone account for 90 percent of the area under minor fruits.  Akola district has maximum area followed by Buldhana, Yeotmal and Amrawati, accounting for 84 percent area in the region.  Similar trend was also observed in production of minor fruits.


            Total volume of trade of minor fruits was reported to be of about 51 crores and important fruits contributing to trade include ber, pomegranate and custard apple.  These fruits alone contributed 89 percent of total trade and ber occupied lion’s share (78.46 percent).  Growers, pre harvest contractors, itinerant merchants and fruit assemblers were the important ones participating in the assembling of fruits.  Among them, Pre harvest Contractors assemble maximum quantity of fruits (50 to 60 percent) followed by growers (30 to 40 percent), itinerant merchants and fruit assemblers.  Accordingly, major local grown produce (77.63 percent) is assembled in the major markets of the district.  Each minor fruit has its own season of production and are available in the region throughout the year.  As regards prices of these minor fruits are concerned, it can be said that the law of supply holds true even in case of minor fruits.  However, there are exceptions which could be due to arrival of other fruits in the same season, festivals etc.  Bulk of produce were generally consumed in the district itself.  It was found that maximum quantity of Custard Apple, Ber, Pomegranate, Tamarind and Aonla were routed by producers through pre harvest contractors-retailers consumer channel.  It was observed that wholesalers make payments after fortnight whereas commission agents make them after a week or so.  Only retailers make payment in


cash in a day or 2 days.  Commission rate was found to be uniform ( 7 percent ) in all the markets in the region.


            Nearly 56% produce entered into the market in gunny bags and 42% in open basket.  However, negligible quantity of fruits entered the markets in boxes and this was only observed in case of Pomegranate fruit.  It was observed that nowhere an independent vehicle for transport of fruit from field to market was employed.  Most common means of transportation employed were cycles, bullock-carts, motor cycles, Auto rickshaws, State transport and other buses and trucks.


            Constraint analysis in production of minor fruit brought out many problems and these are reported below in their order of priority and importance.


i)           Lack of marketing information on seasonwise rates, size, weight-preferred etc.

ii)          Lack of locational specific production technology.

iii)         Lack of technical knowledge about cultivation.

iv)         Lack of knowledge about fruit processing.

v)          Unawareness about the handling of fruits.

vi)         Non-availability of improved planting material.

vii)        Lack of infrastructural facilities.

viii)       Non availability of technical guidance from experts.


Constraints in marketing of minor fruits were reported to be narrow base production, absence of growers’ association, lack of marketing finance, lack of infrastructural facilities, absence of marketing network and lack of grading and standardisation in their order of priority and importance.


Based on this study, following suggestions were reported to overcome constraints in production and marketing for Vidarbha Region.


i)          Horticulture crop planning may be based on natural resource endowments.


ii)         Necessary steps be undertaken by the concerned State / Central departments to promote the cultivation of less known minor fruits viz. Charoli, marking nut, Tembhur, Hanumanphal etc.


iii)        Suitable pockets to be identified by the concerned State / Central departments for exclusive cultivation of minor fruits to develop into estates or major viable centres.

iv)        Different organisations to be encouraged in production and marketing of minor fruits.  Crop insurance scheme to be extended to this farm sector.

v)         Packages / containers to be designed and made available at subsidised rates to producers to transport and market commodities without loosing much of production during handling and transportation. 

vi)         Separate market space for minor fruits and development of adequate facilities for assembling, handling,storage and transport be provided.  Trade of such commodities may be brought under Market Regulation Act.

vii)       Organisation of seminars, conferences and training programmes to educate all the concerned in this sector  including growers marketing functionaries and consumers should be given priority as extension services.

viii)       Strengthening of R & D activities in minor fruits by the Agril. Universities in the State and ICAR Institutes in the country.  Transfer of technology by the State and Central agency in production, marketing and processing of minor fruits to be undertaken on war footing. 


In Kokan region, minor fruits grown include Kokan, Jackfruit, Karonda, and Jamun and the cultivation was by and large found to be concentrated in districts of Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and Raigad.  It was observed that, more number of villages (57.15%) were connected by Kaccha road and no fax facility in any of the villages.  However, postal services along with telephone facility were available in 78.75% villages.  The general topography was found to be hilly terrain and therefore infrastructure facilities are not adequate in the region.


No standard package of practice was followed for all the minor fruits grown in this area.  These plantations were done either by ancestors of farmers or naturally came up.  Most of the farming activities relating to these fruit crops were found to be natural and there was no use of improved package of practices for increasing productivity.


Maturity indices, method of harvesting, transportation, packing and grading followed in minor fruits were empirical / or based on the experience and prevailing practice followed by many farmers in the area.  Bamboo basket with some cushioning material, gunny bags or loose fruits in particular in case of jackfruit were found to be common methods of packing and handling the produce.  Grading was found to be hardly followed based on size and colour of fruits irrespective of type of fruits.  Harvesting season in all fruits i.e. Kokum, jackfruit, Karonda and Jamun was found to be from last week of March to 1st or 2nd week of June and coincided with the harvesting season of major fruits in the region (Mango and Cashewnut).


Carrying fruit from field / tree to roadside on heads or bullock carts and then by truck or tempo depending upon the market place was commonly followed in all types of fruits.


Non-availability of plant material including grafts and seeds of new varieties, scarcity of labour coupled with high labour cost, damage of fruits by monkeys, irregular bearing habit in case of many fruits and coincidence of harvesting season of fruits in monsoon with the major fruits in the area were found to be the major constraints in the production of minor fruits in Konkan region.


Processed products like Syrup, agal, dried rind, butter from Kokum; leather (Papad), dried flakes, jam from jackfruit; syrup from Jamun and juice, squash, syrup, jam, jelly, chutney and pickle from Karonda were found to be manufactured in homescale or organised units.  Some of these products were also available in the local and district markets.


The marketing channels followed in case of all fruits involve producers, village merchants, itinerant traders, wholesalers, processors, pre harvest contractors, commission agents, retailers and consumers depending upon type of fruits, market place, processing activity etc.  By and large, consumers preferred freshness, cleanliness, taste and size as criteria for acceptance of minor fruits particularly in Jamun, Karonda and Kokum.  However, type of fruit i.e. Kapa or Barka, size of carpel, taste and colour of carpel were the acceptance criteria in case of jackfruit.


Constraints reported by market functionaries and also by farmers in the marketing were quick and timely transportation of fruits, high cost of transportation due to hilly terrain and undulating of topography of region, labour scarcity with high wages, more dependence on middlemen involved in Mumbai market and marketing of jackfruit before “Vat Pournima” in Mumbai market to fetch good price.


Solution to overcome the constraints in production and marketing by farmers and market functionaries in the region were reported to be;


i)        To make available newer varieties of trees or best planting material at reasonable rates to increase the  productivity and quality.

ii)         To make available information regarding commercial cultivation of fruit crops in the region to the growers.

iii)         Making available the literature in local language on Processing of Minor Fruits.

iv)         To make available transport facilities in the region for timely transportation of produce to market.

v)          To develop network of marketing on cooperative basis to overcome constraints in marketing.

vi)        To develop communication facilities in particular approachable good roads, Fax / Telephone facilities in fruit  growing areas in the region.

vii)        To develop mechanical harvester to minimise harvesting loss and to reduce harvesting cost / time.

viii)        Making available authorised shopping place on various sub-urban areas of Mumbai to rural market functionaries.

ix)        State Govts. should provide accessible good tar roads in the growing areas from the budgetory provisions from time to time to protect the farm produce from bruising / impact spoilage / loss in transportation.

x)         Backward and forward linkages for training in production and marketing should be arranged on priority.

xi)         Adoption of successful technology for increasing shelf life of fruits should encouraged.


In Marathwada region, it was reported that, total area under fruit crop was extended to be 1,13,288 ha.  Of this, the highest area under minor fruits was under Ber followed by Custardapple, Sapota and Pomegranates.  Highest share of Sapota was found in Aurangabad and the lowest in Latur district while in case of Pomegranate, it was highest in Parbhani and lowest in Aurangabad.  The Osmanabad district had the highest share in an area of Ber Plantation, while Aurangabad district had the lowest share.  In case of Custardapple the area was reported to be highest in Nanded district and lowest in Jalna district.


Case studies of these crops have been elaborated covering information on sample growers, variety of crop used, plant density and use of F.Y.M., Chemical fertilizers and plant Protection measures.  Detailed information on marketing of these fruits covering harvesting, grading, transportation marketing channel, prices realised etc. has also been elaborated.  The information presented on foregoing aspect revealed that the cultural practices followed for all fruit crops under study were traditional and empirical except in stray cases.  Tremendous scope exist for the use of modern technology to increase the production and quality of fruit.


Harvesting method was found to be traditional in all types of fruits except using scissor in few cases of Pomegranate.  Road transport using tempo and lorries was found to be the most common.  Grading of fruits was found to be common practice to fetch better prices in the market.  Gunny bags, bamboo baskets and kraft paper boxes / wooden boxes were found to be common packaging material and its application was found based on prices realized for fruit in the market, and distance of market from production centres.  However, Kraft paper boxes / wooden boxes were common in cases of Pomegranate, bamboo basket in case of Custardapple and Sapota and gunny sacks in case of ber.  Producer-Commission agent-Wholesaler-Retailer and consumer was found to be most prevalent market channel for sale of minor fruits the constraint analysis study with regard to production and marketing has brought out the following major problems.


1)         Lack of elite planting material and skill of grafting among fruit growers in all types of fruits under study.

2)         Inadequate and improper doses of F.Y.M., chemical fertilizers and plant protection chemicals.

3)         Lack of appropriate gadgets for harvesting of fruits.

4)         No prescribed standards for grading of minor fruits depending upon their size, colour, weight etc.

5)         Exhorbitant freight charges to transport fruits from field to market.

6)         High cost of CFB boxes / other boxes compels the growers to use traditional packaging material (Gunny bags).

7)         Smaller size of Marketable surplus adds more cost in marketing of produce and therefore producer depends on agency who markets their produce and thus looses bargaining power.

8)         Lot of variation in market commission fee due to unregulated markets for minor fruits.



The suggestion to overcome the above constraints include:


1)         Supply of elite plant material through state and private owned nursaries.

2)        Organisation of training Programme on grafting and budding for producer farmers by the Agricultural University and Horticulture Directorate in the region.

3)        Assistance to producer farmers to go for modern agro-technologies and thereby increase productivity and quantity of fruits.

4)         Establishment of regulated markets and assistance for marketing produce to fetch better prices.

5)         Assistance to fruit produces for using improved packaging material and to fix standard for various grades of fruit  based on colour, size and weight.

6)         Assistance to fruit growers in making available transport at reasonable price from field to marketplace


Western Maharashtra region was found to be leader in growing minor fruits on commercial scale.  The area and production of minor fruits viz., ber, pomegranate, custard apple, bullock’s heart and tamarind was found to be concentrated in Sholapur, Sangli, Pune, Ahmednagar.  Strawberry was found more in Satara and Nasik districts.  Fig was found to be in Pune district.


Area under fruit crops by individual fruit grower varied firm 0.4 to 1 hectare.  Monsoon was found to be the common planting season irrespective of type of fruit grown in the region.  Standard spacing for planting of most of the fruits was observed to be common indicating more trend for use of modern technologies.  Application of modern technologies like drip irrigation, use of insecticides / pecticides growth promoters and fertilizers were also found increasing among all fruit growers in the region.


Harvesting of fruits by hand was the common practice.  Use of modern packaging material like plastic in crates and boxes was found more popular among fruit growers of Pomegranate, fig, Strawberry and Bullock’s heart.  Similarly, the trend for grading of fruits before selling was also found more common among all fruit growers.  Means of communication in terms of transport and post office was found to be excellent in the region with very good facilities of telephone and fax.  Engaging tempo or truck was most common means of transportation among fruit growers.


Selling of fruits through commission agent was found more in case of ber, Pomegranate, fig, Bullock’s heart and Papaya.  Commission rate of Agents among all district markets was to a maximum extent of 10 percent.  In market places, the most of the produce is sold within the district and that too either loose or in gunny bags.  Retailers were found to be common buyers and seller for this produce.  Grading of produce before marketing was found to be the most common feature to fetch better prices.  Arrangement for storage of produce was major constraint in market places and therefore the producer was sold same day in many cases.  The data on utilization of fruits for processing revealed that only 3 percent was used for processed products.  Average quality fruits were found to be more in the markets.


Following were the major constraints in production and marketing of minor fruits in their order of priority in this region.


1)         Non availability of stable market and reasonable price.

2)         Constant supply of electricity.

3)         Non availability of fertilizers and pecticides at reasonable prices.

4)         Non availability of information on import and export market, market rate and modern technology.

5)         Water shortage.

6)         Non availability of quality plant material seeds and fertilizers.

7)         Non availability of crop loan at low interest rate.


For removing constraints in production and marketing, following suggestions have been offered.


1)         Assistance to fruit growers to get production inputs such as packing material, fertilizers, pecticides, water and electricity at reasonable prices and timely.

2)         Making available transport timely and at reasonable prices.

3)         Making available information on domestic and export market, market rates and modern production technology.

4)        Setting up of more precooling and cold storage in growing areas and markets to extend the storage life and selling period.

5)          Making available crop loan at low rate of interest to fruit growers.

6)        Training of fruit growers in selection and multiplication of best plant material, post harvest management and marketing of produce.

7)         Assistance in marketing of fruits within the country and abroad in order to get reasonable price to the produce.





            Based on the study in four regions of the state following infrastructure facilities have been suggested to create in the various parts of the state.


1)                 Non availability of seedlings and planting material of better type and quality was found to be major constraint in the state.  In this context, it is to be reported that there are state level nurseries located in Thane, Mundle Ratnagiri, and Sindhu durga besides 29 district level and 107 Taluka level nurseries in order to supply the plant materials in the state.  In addition, there are private nurseries whose number is 69 in Marathwada, 441 in Western Maharashtra, 418 in Konkan and 441 in Vidarbha regions.  There is strong need to strengthen the efforts of all these nurseries by providing adequate funds, technical manpower and high-tech inputs to achieve the important objective of supplying the best plant materials in right quantity at right time and also at reasonable price.  This has particularly more in the region of Konkan, Vidarbha and Marathwada.


Further, there is need to improve the skill of fruit growers in the area of propagation and therefore they need to be trained in Mali training centers under the Agricultural Universities.  At present, there are 7 Mali training centers under M.P.K.V., Rahuri for Western Maharashtra and each one for other three universities in the state for other regions.  Therefore, more Mali training centers are to be setup in Marathwada, Vidarbha and Konkan regions.


2)                 Adoption of Modern cultural practices to increase the productivity / unit area and better quality fruits is lacking in all the regions and this has particularly more relevance in Konkan, Marathwada and Vidarbha region.


Therefore, the work of extensive agencies under the agricultural universities needs to be strengthened to impart this knowledge to fruit growers in the state.  Specialised training centres exclusively for this purpose need to be set up under the common umbrella of Agricultural Universities and State Govt. in all the regions of the state.  Education on these aspects by making video cassettes and telecasting on the network programme is the need of the hour.


3)                 Information on post harvest management of major fruits and their utility for processed products need to be disseminated among fruit growers.  Presently, there are no efforts in this direction either by state or Agril. Universities.  Even the Research and development work carried out in this direction is inadequate and not much appropriate to the situation.


Therefore, there is a need to organise specialised training programmes covering all aspects of harvesting, handling, packaging, transport, storage and processing by setting up Post Harvest Technologies Centres in various parts of the state under the common umbrella of state and Agricultural Universities.


Presently, there are 37 Precooling and Cold storage units under co-operative sectors located in the districts, viz., 5 in (Pune), 2 in (Ahmednagar), 8 in (Nasik), 8 in (Solapur), 2 in (Dhule), 1 in (Kolhapur), 4 in (Sangli), 1 in (Latur), 3 in (Osmanabad), 1 in (Aurangabad), 1 in (Sindhudurg) and 1 in (Satara), being used only for grape, mango, pomegranate and strawberry.  However, they are located mainly in Western Maharashtra region (32 out of 37) efforts should be made to utilize the facility for minor fruits in Western region and develop more such facilities in Vidarbha, Maharashtra and Konkan region.


4)                 Presently market led production is totally lacking in all region of the state and therefore, information pertaining to demand and supply of fruits, it’s season, price fetched in various season, quality of fruits required, quantity and its time availability in the market has to be made available to the fruit growers through local news papers, Radio and Television.  This may be done under the common umbrella of state departments dealing with the production and marketing.


5)                 In marketing of fruits, the grower has to depend upon the market functionaries like wholesalers, commission agents, retailers and marketing committees in the production areas.  Marketing of Agriculture commodities itself is a profession and business hence there is need to reorient the growers to this area so that there would be not much exploitation by those functionaries.  There is also need to arrange space, transport and other amenities in the marketing of minor fruits.  Advertisement on therapeutic and nutritional values of minor fruits need to be given at state cost till the fruits are well received by the consumer in the market.  Amenities in terms of cold storages and packing house have to be created in the marketing complex for minor fruits for marketing fruits within the country and also for export.


6)                 Communication facilities in terms of approachable roads to the plantation (orchards), transport vehicles, postal and telecom facilities have to be set up in growing areas by the State Govt. with the collaboration of the Central Govt.  These facilities have more relevance in Konkan and Marathwada region.


7)                 Inputs for fruit production like fertilizers, chemical, packaging material, harvesting tool / kits, have to made available to the fruit growers by state Govt. through some mechanism so that they would get right material and at reasonable price.


8)                 At present, processing of minor fruits and handling is done even by existing processing units located in the state and therefore there is a need to process fruits surpluses into marketable products.


Publicity comparing with regard to processed products from such fruits need to be arranged by the marketing department of the state Govt.


9)                 Strong research base centres need to be developed from the existing state horticulture research organisation to tackle day to day problem and offer the solution to the fruit growers.


10)             A strong linkage needs to be developed, established and nurtured among the production, research, marketing and industry departments of state Govt. to consider this as an enterprise.


Research Project

 Under Research Grant Scheme (Plan)


Name of the Organisation                          :-   A.N. Sinha Institute of Social  Studies, Patna


Topic of Project                                          :-   Production and Marketing of Vegetables in Bihar

Name of the Principal Investigator             :-   Shri Jagdish Prasad 


Summary and Conclusions


1.                Introduction


Thus so far we examined the production and marketing system of vegetables in the State of Bihar and also analysed the economics of cultivation and the profitability of vegetable crops.  The efficiency of vegetable marketing system especially in regard to marketing costs and margins and the vegetable grower’s share in consumer’s rupee has been extensively discussed.  The exhaustive study on the marketing aspect of vegetables is most desirable as being observed that vegetable marketing system in Bihar is highly inefficient causing deprivation of the farmers to get remunerative prices for their vegetable crops.  Vegetables being labour intensive crops, if these are not efficiently marketed particularly at prices that meet farmer’s cost of production, his enthusiasm gets dampened, adoption of modern production technology and use of non-conventional inputs declines and production suffers setbacks.  Keeping in view these facts the task before us is not only to summarise the findings of the study but also to suggest a set of recommendations so that the expectations of achieving the goals of developing efficient marketing system for vegetables could be achieved.


2.                Study Method


Both the primary and secondary sources of data are used to examine production and marketing system of vegetables in Bihar.  The secondary sources of data pertain to have an idea on area and production of different vegetables in the State.  The primary data are collected at the farm households level in regard to all important aspects of vegetables production and its marketing.


Six important vegetables commonly grown in the selected districts have been opted for the present study.  The vegetables selected are potato, tomato, brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower and ladyfinger.  Following the terms of reference one district from each agro-climatic zone has been purposively selected following the criteria of largest proportion of vegetable area in the district.  As such, six districts having the largest proportion of area in the concerned agro-climatic zones have been selected.  For making the study cross-sectional representative the randomly selected farmers from each selected village of the districts have been grouped into four groups namely, marginal (upto 1.0 ha), small (1.0 to 2.0), medium (2.0 to 4.0) and large (above 4.0 ha).  Thus, a total number of 379 farmers comprising 120 marginal, 109 small, 79 medium and 71 large are selected for the study.


The simple tabular approach has been used for analysis.  This is also used for calculating cost of cultivation, cost of production and returns from cultivation based on the cost accounting method.  The marketing efficiency has been examined with the help of analysis of price-spread and estimation of marketing costs and margins.


3.                Socio-Economic Base        


The socio-economic base of the farmers has significant bearing on their farm business.  The findings indicate that the average size of holding is 1.80 ha, a strong possibility of the economic viability of the majority of the farms.


The small farm size classes have large number of farm workers meaning thereby that agriculture is the main occupational activity.  The children are also reported to be engaged in farm activities particularly in small farm size.  In regard to family composition, the problem of overpopulation and excessive pressure on land cannot be ruled out.  This is found in all categories of farms.  So far literacy rate is concerned, the results indicate that the smallest farm size group has the highest proportion of illiteracy (49.05).  When taken together all farm households 40.62 per cent are illiterate.  An analysis of farm income shows that agriculture is the main source of income.  The income from vegetable is higher in small farm size groups than the large farm size group.  This means that small farmers very widely practice cultivation of vegetables on their land irrespective of their small size of land.  It is further reported that gross annual income per hectare of vegetable crop land is highest in case of marginal farms.  In totality also, the cultivation of vegetable crops is more profitable than food crops.


4.                Cultivation and Production


From the foregoing analysis of the cultivation and production of vegetables it is found that cropped vegetables area account for 29.57 per cent on marginal, 16.85 per cent on small, 14.67 per cent on medium and 11.17 per cent on large farms.  This means that land holding size is inversely related with the vegetable area.  As indicated earlier also, marginal and small categories of farms are more prone to vegetables cultivation than large farmers.  It is further noted that vegetable crops are largely grown on irrigated land.


From the data on land utilization pattern and vegetable cropped area, the findings are of revealing nature in the sense that the proportion of cultivable land is much high in north and central Bihar districts as compared to districts of plateau region of the State.  Due to favourable agro-climatic conditions, plateau region districts are more suitable for vegetables cultivation but due to poor irrigation level vegetables are not grown substantially.


The analysis of land tenure and tenancy system indicates that there is absence of wholly leased-in meaning thereby that each cultivator has some land base and those who are landless work as agricultural labourers.  The share-croppers are those who have some land base may be very tiny plot of land.  The findings further indicate that share-cropping is most widely used either in case of partly owned land partly leased-in (marginal and small farmers) and partly leased-out (medium and large farmers).


The analysis of the proportionate are under vegetables in the total cropped are reveals that of the total cropped area, vegetables account for 16.70 per cent.  The share of vegetable crops in irrigated area is high compared to unirrigated area.  The cropping intensity for vegetables is around 131 per cent having 10 per cent variations among the different farm size classes.  No definite relationship has been reported between irrigated land and vegetable crop intensity.  This means that there is no wide practice of double cropping of vegetables.


The findings regarding area under selected vegetables indicate that these account for 80.91 per cent of total area grown under all vegetables.  Among all the vegetable crops potato occupies the largest proportion followed by brinjal.  Tomato, cauliflower and cabbage have, by and large, 10 per cent of the total vegetable area.  Ladyfinger is being cultivated on 6.87 per cent of total vegetable area.  The findings of the concentration of farmers in growing a particular vegetable indicate that potato occupies the prominent position while among green vegetables brinjal and cauliflower have the highest concentration.  However, about 10 per cent variations in the concentration reveals that all the selected vegetables under study are equally important in the vegetable economy of the State. 


The productivity of different vegetables indicated that there are large variations in it among different category of farmers.  The most striking findings is that the productive efficiency of vegetable cultivation is reported to be high in the case of marginal farmers as compared to other farm size.  This means that having tiny plots of land marginal farmers go for intensive cultivation with their own human labour capital which give them higher yield of their vegetables.  However, taking together all the farm size groups, the productivity is below from the expected yields.


5.                Economics of Vegetables Production

An analysis of the cost structure in cultivation and production of selected vegetables under study in different districts shows that the operational cost and seed / seedlings form major part of cost of cultivation in case of potato.  There are no significant variations in the use of seeds of potato among the different categories of farmers.  Rental value of land is also uniform for all categories of vegetable farms.  Tomato, one of the most adaptable of vegetable plants, is highly labour intensive accounting for 39.72 per cent of the total cost on account of human labour.  The cost of manure and fertilizers also forms substantial proportion of operational cost of tomato cultivation.  In case of other vegetables also, the human labour forms the major component of operational costs which have less variations in different categories of farmers.  However, among the different vegetables the cost of seeds varies widely.  The cost of manure and fertilizers also varies but to a lesser degree as compared to seed / seedlings.  The cost of seed is the highest in case of potato and lowest in case of tomato.  It is further observed that farmers usually prefer to traditional varieties of seeds of tomato.  The overall findings of the cost of cultivation of the selected vegetables under study show that there are no large variations in production costs among the different categories of farmers.  However, there are variations in the selected vegetables under study.

The costs and net returns from the cultivation of vegetables are also discussed at length with the help of the estimation of gross and net returns over costs of production and output-input ratio.  While estimating these, cost A 1, cost 2, cost B and cost C are taken into account for thread-bare analysis.  The findings show that the farmers earned remunerative returns particularly over cost A1 (paid-out cost).  It is observed that yield rate has significant bearing on net returns of vegetables production.  As such, large variations are reported due to variations in yield rate among different categories of farmers.  There are also variations in output-input ratio which is the most important indicator of judging the efficiency of cultivation of vegetables.  The returns obtained from input used are reported to be low in ladyfinger.  As such, ladyfinger is less profitable as compared to other vegetables under study.  From the analysis it is found that tomato is the most remunerative crop followed by brinjal, potato, cauliflower and cabbage stand thereafter.  However, despite the variability in net returns because of variations in yield rate all the selected vegetables under study are profitable and highly labour intensive.  As such, vegetable crops have vast potential of generating employment and income opportunities in the State.


6.                Marketing of Vegetables

A number of empirical studies based on direct estimation of marketable and marketed surplus of vegetables indicate their high proportion in production.  The marketable surplus of all the selected vegetables produced by sample farmers of all size groups varies from 89.65 to 98.52 per cent.  It is also observed that except potato the proportion of marketable surplus is higher in case of small category of farmers making highly commercial crops for them.  The findings of the ratio of the share of farm size classes in the marketable surplus of the selected vegetables indicate the close proximity of the land holding and the marketable surplus, a very close proximity in case of marginal and small farms.  This holds true in case of all the selected districts.  On the basis of these findings inference may be drawn here that vegetables are the main sources of cash earning of farmers particularly marginal and small farmers.

From the data on marketing pattern it is observed that marketing system of vegetables across the region of the State is very complex, these crops being sold by a number of different methods and by a large number of different kinds of agents and agencies.  Its marketing pattern, therefore, varies considerably from farmers to farmers depending upon the nature of the vegetables and capacity of the farmers.  While marketing vegetables it changes hands three to four times between producers and consumers.  It means that the multiplicity of intermediaries exists in marketing system of vegetables.

An analysis of spatial allocation shows that there is predominance of sales in primary / rural market (haat).  However, sale at the village level in case of large farmers is less than small category of farmers.  This is found similar in case of all vegetables selected for the study.  It is further observed that there are slight variations in the spatial allocation of marketed surplus among the districts.  In most of the districts vegetables are not being sold in the agricultural market yard except in Nalanda district where substantial proportion of vegetables are sold in the market yard.  The overall findings indicate that vegetables marketing has not been brought under purview of the regulation of agricultural marketing system in the State of Bihar.  The rural primary markets where substantial proportion of vegetables are sold are not developed from the market infrastructure point of view.  The regulatory measures are also not enforced.  Rather, there is complete control of private intermediaries over the operation of trade in these rural oriented markets.

This is evident from the findings of the analysis of marketing channel which indicate the predominance of village level intermediaries to whom major proportion of vegetables are sold.  As such, transaction of vegetables is being made by a chain of intermediaries namely, katcha arhatiya, itinerant trader, broker, agent of the wholesaler / commission agent, wholesaler / commission agent and retailer, the variations in different districts are found in the sense that in plateau region districts itinerant traders and agents of the wholesaler / commission agents are prominent whereas in plain region districts katcha arhatiya, small itinerant trader are more prominent at the rural market level.The co-operative institution as a market agency is reported to be in Ranchi district only.  In other districts, their operation is, by and large, dismal.


7.                Marketing Efficiency   


The marketing efficiency has been judged by the measurement of price-spread as it gives an accurate idea of the nature and magnitude of marketing costs and margins and consequently, producer’s share in consumer’s share.  The hypothesis is that larger the price-spread, greater the inefficiency in marketing system and vice-versa.  For vegetables, there are wide variations in conditions under which vegetables are marketed which greatly influence the determinants of marketing efficiency.

The results of the estimation of price-spread indicates higher marketing costs and large price-spread largely on account of various components of marketing costs and margins.  It is observed that margins of intermediaries are not proportionate to the service provided by them.  As a result, the producer’s share in consumer’s rupee is very low and even in some cases it is 40 per cent of the consumer’s rupee.  This is mainly on account of presence of a number of intermediaries who operate at various stages of marketing on high margins.  Due to monopolistic character of traders farmer’s bargaining power is weak causing them to sell their vegetables at trader’s dictated prices.  All these reflect imperfections in the markets and calls for strict enforcement of regulatory measures.  The pathetic situation is that regulatory measures for improving vegetables marketing system are only on paper due to their non-enforcement particularly at the rural / primary market level.  There is indeed much scope for improving the vegetables marketing system with the help of reduction in different items of costs and margins.  This may be possible by bringing out the enforcement of regulatory measures along with creation of market infrastructure facilities such as transportation, storage.  There is also complete absence of post-harvest management which need to be developed for increasing marketing efficiency.  Grading  and packaging need special attention in this regard.  The policy mix of all these determinants would be the most desirable step for promoting efficient vegetables trade and optimal distribution as well as to encourage vegetables production.

8.                Co-operative Institutions

In Bihar the establishment of co-operative institutions for marketing vegetables is a recent phenomenon.  Its functioning is mainly noted in Ranchi district and as such, the performance of co-operative institutions has been examined in case of Ranchi district only.

Two types of vegetables marketing co-operatives are functioning in the study area namely, the Chotanagpur Adivasi Co-operative Vegetables Marketing Federation Ltd. (VEGFED) and the grower’s primary co-operative marketing societies.  The former is a federation of co-operatives established by the Government of Bihar and the latter is farmer’s co-operatives such as primary societies.

The analysis of their performance reveals weak organisational structure and poor asset and financial management in the primary grower’s societies studied.  The findings also reveal high marketing costs, large price-spread and low grower’s share.  The performance of VEGFED has been highly unsatisfactory in providing marketing facilities to the growers.  In order to promote these institutions, the primary societies need to be restructured as multipurpose co-operative societies with credit and marketing linkages.  VEGFED needs to be restructured as a genuine co-operative federation free from bureaucratic control.

9.      Policy Implications


Improving and increasing the efficiency of vegetable marketing system is going to be an important agenda of 21st century.  Vegetables are being viewed as ‘sunrise’ enterprise in the agricultural sector of the country due to vast potential of its production and export.  The analysis done in this study suggests that considerable scope exists for improvement in vegetable marketing system in the State of Bihar.  The market improvement programmes comprising market regulation; co-operative marketing and state trading fell far short of expectations in as much as the prevailing vegetables marketing environment bears many market disabilities that prevailed at the time of independence.  The sales at low prices, little grading at the village level, tie-in-sales, presence of large chain of intermediaries and high marketing costs and margins – all these tendencies seem to persist across the regions in the State.  Production system is also not encouraging as there has been low productivity of vegetables due to low adoption of scientific cultivation of vegetables.  The farm-business of vegetables is, therefore, in a sorry state of affairs reflecting low returns to farmers.


Production and marketing efficiency of vegetables, due to its vast complexities particularly on account of perishability of these crops and poor market infrastructure facilities available, could be increased with the help of multi-pronged strategies within the framework of restructuring the market reforms programme.  The market reforms which have the main thrust of market regulation have laid much emphasis on changes in the forms of marketing organisation for solving the marketing problems.  Little emphasis has been given in removing the basic constraints that reduced the efficiency of the system, viz., poor transport, lack of grading and storage facilities, absence of marketing credit, poor development of ‘actual’ market place, i.e., rural haat, poor market information etc.  The success of market regulation, in fact, depends on these factors as being observed in other parts of the country.  It is not surprising that in regions where these constraints are not serious, market regulation yielded better results, but in such regions markets operated with reasonable efficiency even otherwise; wherever these constraints are overriding, mere regulatory measures could not have significant bearing on solving the problems of vegetable markets in the State.

 The ironical situation is that the regulatory measures are less effective at the rural / periodical haats level.  It, therefore, appears quite imperative that the development of these haats should not be neglected particularly from the point of view of creation of market infrastructure such as grading, storage etc.  Wherever these facilities were established by the Government at the centralised wholesale markets, often the scale of operations and capital intensity were high, and the locations highly centralised with moot chance of benefits percolating to farmers particularly small farmers in small markets.  Since the small farmers intensively cultivate vegetable crops and these crops are not only labour intensive but also profitable, support to these farmers should receive priority in the market reform programmes.  The marketing problems of small farmers emanate essentially from their dependence on traders for credit, which puts them in highly unequal trading relationship with the buyers of their vegetables.  The structural inefficiency is a great barrier for improving the vegetable marketing system which removal needs to be based on new approach to the structural reforms.  In fact, the present going on market reforms should be combined with structural reforms and credit reforms that enable the farmers in general and small farmers in particular to improve their resource base.  Thus, the market accessibility to farmers should be the crux for future market reforms policy.

  The vegetables co-operative marketing institutions may play an important role in providing market accessibility to the small farmers but on the basis of the poor performance of these institutions there is also a need for innovative ideas in the field of co-operatives; restricting membership only to small and marginal farmers may be considered.  These societies may be organisationally and functionally structured as a agribusiness consortium which will take care of both production and marketing through giving institutional strength to backward and forward linkages.  Concentrated efforts by the State and Central governments in this regard would not only remove imperfections in the vegetable marketing system but would also help in raising the quality of production by making available critical inputs to the farmers.



Research Project

 Under Research Grant Scheme (Plan)


Name of the Organisation                          :-    Bihar Institute of Economics   Studies, Patna

Topic of Project                                          :-    A study on Dynamics of Marketing of Selected Fruits in Bihar

Name of the Principal Investigator             :-    Dr. S.P. Sinha, Director 


Summary of Findings


Summary of findings is based on the study sponsored by Directorate of Marketing & Inspection, Ministry of Rural Areas & Employment, Government of India, on the subject “Dynamics of Marketing of Selected Fruits in Bihar”.  The study is aimed to identify the present system of fruit marketing in the state and its specific problems and constraints in various areas of agricultural marketing of selected fruit and to suggest remedial measures.  It also aimed to study the price-spread between the producer and the consumers of the selected fruits including its marketable and marketed surplus.  The results presented are based on a field survey conducted in 8 selected districts (2 each for different selected fruits) of the State with a sample size of randomly selected 316 fruit producers and concerned wholesalers, commission agents, pre-harvest contractors, Retailers etc. 

Since the agro-climatic conditions of the state are most suitable for the production of fruits and vegetables, there exists a great potential for the growth of these crops on commercial scale.  It is more important in the context of globalisation, India has to largely depend on its agricultural export capabilities.


Out of 316 fruit producers contacted, 95 belonged as litchi producer followed by 76 mango and 71 of Makhana producers.  More than 88 percent of these producers were hindu and about 68.46 percent belonged to backward community including SC & ST, underlining a majority concentration of socially depressed section of the Society.  A little less than half of these producers were engaged in different agricultural or horticultural activities and rest were engaged in non-agricultural activities including business and services etc.


The over all literacy rate among the producers was 73.10 percent.  Maximum (83.16 percent) literacy rate was observed among litchi growers and the lowest rate (61.56 percent) was observed among Makhana growers.  It is only due to the fact that ratio of SC & ST producers was only 4.75 percent.  About 6.65 percent of these producers were graduate or above and more than 35 percent were matriculates.  It shows that educational level of these producers are comparatively much higher than the state average.  It is interesting to note that majority of these growers were above than the cut off line of the poverty.


Average size of fruit grower’s family was 5.86.  However, such size was 6.25 among Makhana growers followed by Banana (5.84), Litchi (5.73) and Mango (5.63), which were much higher than national average of about 5.0.  The overall average size of holding was 6.3 acres.  As expected the average size of land for upper caste growers was cultivated much higher at 9.18 acre.


Bihar state is one of the largest producer of fruits and ranks first in Litchi, third in Mango and sixth in Banana in the country.  The state has a monopoly in Makhana production.  The annual fruit production in the state is 30 lakhs tonnes in an area of nearly 3 lakhs hectares. As far as marketing of these fruits in Bihar is concerned, some development did take place which was resulting, incidental from improvement in roads, markets and transport.  However, by and large, fruit marketing falls a short of the need.  Fruit marketing in this state is characterised by other constraints too.  These are plethora of system agents and agencies.  It is normal for most of the horticultural produces to change hands three or four times before it reaches consumers.  Producers sell to village merchants, small commission agents and intinerent dealers in villages.  The merchants and intinerent dealers are in use either in weekly hats / primary markets or in wholesale, secondary urban market centres.  From these, the produce moves to the final consuming market or terminal market and then to retailers and consumers.  Large produces may sell directly in wholesale markets.


There are several marketing agencies prevailing in this state for the marketing of different fruits.  Pre-harvest contractors are the most popular agency among the fruit producers in Bihar followed by Wholesalers, and commission agents.  The main season put forth by the majority of the producers to prefer the contract sale was to avoid the risk.  No systematic or fix strategy was prevailing but it varies from place to place and commodity to commodity.  During the field survey, it is also observed that different marketing channels for different fruits are prevailing in this state.  In the case of Banana, direct sale channel i.e. producer-wholesalers/commission agents-retailers-consumers is the most popular.  Regarding Makhana, bulk of it was sold directly either to wholesalers or retailers.  Wholesalers themselves, purchased the Makhana directly from growers, bearing various charges of marketing.  The most common channel i.e. producer-pre-harvest contractor-wholesaler/commission agents-Retailer-consumer is found for marketing of Mango and Litchi in this state.


More than 70 percent of the selected growers pointed out the problem of poor financial condition, higher marketing cost & lack of packaging facility followed by shortage of labour of both nature i.e. skill and unskilled during the peak marketing season pointed out by about 40 percent of these growers.  The other problems mentioned by these growers are un-availability of cold storage and lack of knowledge of proper marketing.  Thereafter, awareness building programmes for proper marketing systems are required to the producers specially for marginal and small producers.


Marketable and marketed surplus has been given for each of the selected fruit by different type of growers in the Chapter-IV including the ratio of wastage, wages paid etc.  In case of Banana, marketable and marketed surplus decreases as the size of holding increase in relation to production of the fruits.  Wastages were comparatively high among medium and small producers as compared to the marginal producers while consumption were in higher side among marginal growers than small and medium growers.  More than 82 percent of the total production of Litchi is estimated as marketable and marketed surplus.  About 13.7 percent was accounted as its wastage followed by nearly 3 percent as wages paid and little less than 3 percent were consumed by the growers.


As being a cash crop, Makhana exhibits high marketable surplus.  Home consumption of edible Makhana amounted to only 1.72 percent of total production.  However, wastage was estimated at 3.46 percent and about 3.55 percent of total production was paid as wages and others.  Overall about 88 percent of the total production among the selected producers was estimated as marketed surplus.  In case of Mango, about 88.25 percent to total production was estimated as marketable surplus followed by about 87.73 percent as marketed surplus.  About 6.65 percent of total production was estimated as its wastage and nearly 4.75 percent spent on wages.  Consumption was estimated at only about 0.35 percent of the total production.  Like other selected fruits, the percentage of marketable and marketed surplus also increases as the size of holding increases in terms of production.


Price Spread of the selected fruits estimated on the basis of information collected from producers as well as different market intermediaries, shows that the shares of producers are less than 50 percent of the consumer price in most of the marketing channels of different fruits except the channel-I (Products-wholesaler-Retailers) of Banana and local market channel of Makhana, which are little more than 50 percent.  The maximum share of producer was estimated at 54.07 percent for channel-I of Banana followed by 53.57 percent for the local market channel of Makhana in Darbhanga district.  In rest of the Channel, such share of producers, varied from only 30.59 percent in channel-I (i.e. involvement of Pre-harvest contractor) of Mango to 48 percent in channel-II (Producer-wholesalers-Retailers-Consumers) of Litchi.


Producer’s share in Price-Spread of Delhi Market in marketing of Makhana was estimated at 47.37 percent of consumer’s price, where as such share of producer was accounted at about 42 percent each in the channel-II (Producer-Commission agent-Wholesalers-Retailers-Consumer) of Banana marketing and in channel-I (Producer-Wholesaler-Retailers-Consumers) of Mango marketing respectively.  Thereafter, it is observed that with the clinimination of one intermediary in the market channel on an average the producer share increased by more than 5 percent of the consumer’s price.


Suggestions & Recommendations  

Our analysis shows that fruit producers in Bihar received a low proportion of consumer’s price as observed in marketing cost.  The marketing cost was high because of the higher transportation cost due to poor infrastructure facilities like absence of all-weather roads connecting the village clusters with markets, virtual absence of public transport system etc., absence of strict implementation of market regulation act, and the involvement of a large number of intermediaries charging abnormally high profit margin in comparison to their services rendered.  It is suggested that to improve the share of the producers, it is necessary that the marketing cost involved must be reduced.  This is possible only when the infrastructure facilities are developed.

Present system of fruit marketing is very weak despite several measures taken by the Government in improving the existing marketing system for fruits.  Therefore, it is recommended that in order to improve existing system of marketing of fruits in the state, the organisation of an institutional agency-either growers co-operatives or a public corporation is necessary.  This institutional body should undertake all the marketing functions starting from assembling of produce (from small orchards in remote places), grading, packing, transport, storage, market intelligence and arranging marketing credit in order to restrict leasing of orchards to pre-harvest contractors.