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Farmers Need Marketing Information


Marketing information not only helps farmers make profitable decisions in the short term on when and where to market produce, and what price to expect. It also has another vital function, of helping farmers decide what to produce. Since there may be a time delay of months or years between investing in a crop or herd and getting a profit, farmers who understand market trends and market opportunities have a better chance of succeeding than those who do not.

In fact, marketing information plays a vital role in the functioning of the whole market, by regulating the competitive marketing process. By helping ensure that produce goes to markets where there is a demand for it, it shortens marketing channels and cuts down on transport costs. It helps ensure that each marketing transaction is a fair one, and that all participants share the risks and benefits. However, this does not happen if marketing information is distributed unequally, as is generally the case when many small-scale farmers in Asia are selling to a relatively few large-scale dealers. The farmers then end up bearing the greater part of the risk, while the dealers end up with the greater part of the profits.

Recent advances in information technology are making it more feasible to provide small-scale farmers with the marketing information they need. However, farmers may not benefit from sophisticated facilities, if the system is poorly managed or not designed for their needs. It is not enough for marketing information to be collected: it must also be disseminated in a form accessible to farmers and adapted to their needs.

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