The Next important aspect relates to the functionaries operating in the Indian agricultural
markets. A very large number of intermediaries have come to exist between producer and
consumers of these the major ones are:
1. Village Beopari is by far the most usual purchaser of the produce, who deals in his
individual capacity. He usually collects the produce from the villages and hats and brings it
to the wholesale markets and from there it reaches the consumers. Beoparies generally
purchase when prices are low and sell it when they are high.
2. Itinerant Beopari wanders from village to village, collects the produce and takes it to the
nearest market. He purchases at cheaper rates owing to the lack of competition from other
3. Tola or Weigh men also to some extent function as intermediaries. Technically speaking
they are supposed to only weigh the produce and charge a commission for certifying its
weight. But it is more than often seen that these tola also arrange the sale of the producer by
carrying samples to dealers in towns. They obliviously charge a commission for this and also
4. Local landlords and cultivators, especially the medium size holders also sell the produce
directly to the village beoparies or town dealers visiting the village markets.
5. Arhatiyas or Brokers: They usually occupy a very important position among all the
intermediaries. They are of 2 types:
a. Kutcha arhatiya mainly concentrates on the work of collecting and assembling the
b. Pucca arhatiya on the other hand arranges for the sale and distribution of the produce. Both work together in tandem as master and apprentice. They also advance loans to the
village merchants and traders on the condition that the produce will be sold to them or
Although the seller is free to sell his produce in the market directly to the buyer, he in actual
practice does it through a commission agent. The intricacies involved in the market transactions
have compelled him to adopt this costly agency. Broadly speaking, 70% of the produce is
handled by the producers themselves and the balance is handled by trade comprising commission
agents, wholesalers, retailers, co-operatives and the governments.
Marketable surplus and marketed surplus
India is the world‟s largest producer in approx. 9 different agricultural commodities.
However it is not the largest exporter in even a single segment. This is because of 2
basic reasons viz.
1. Indian consumers are more in number hence they do not leave any surplus and
2. Indian products that are surplus are non marketable in nature.
Indian agricultural marketers have the tough task of making non-marketable Indian
Unlike the case of manufactured products where the entire produce is set aside for the
market, in agriculture all produce is not sold. The actual amount of crop sold is
dependant on a large number of factors. One of the major factors in this case is
“Marketable Surplus” the other factors being need for cash, price trends, availability of
storage facilities etc. The marketable surplus, in turn depends upon the production on
one hand and the growers household and farm requirements on the other.
In agricultural marketing is involved the putting up of the surplus in the market through
a definite channel. The surplus may be marketable surplus and marketed surplus. The
former indicates the residential quantity left with the producer after meeting his requirements for family consumption, farm needs, and payments-in-kind to casual and
permanent labour, the landlord, artisans and seed and stock to cover the future
exigencies including wastage. The latter term refers to the quantity of produce that is
actually sold in the market by the producer irrespective of his home consumption and
A farmer's marketed surplus can be either more, less or equal to his marketable surplus.
If the farmer retains less of the produce than is needed for the consumption at home, the
surplus is more. This usually happens when cash is needed immediately after the
harvest to meet certain urgent needs. It is less, when a farmer holds some of his surplus
produce on the farm or consumes more than normal amounts of it. It is worth noting
that marketed surplus of small subsistence farmer‟s increases with a price fall because
more quantity has to be sold to meet the minimum cash needs. Large farmers market
little when prices are low and hold stocks in anticipation or future higher prices. The
size of the marketed surplus thus depends upon the relative share of small and large
cultivators in the marketing, and may thus vary considerably from one year to another.
Marketable surplus will always be less than the actual production. But it can be higher
or lower than the level of marketed surplus during a period depending on the extent of
hoarding from the current production or dehoarding of the accumulated stock by the
producers. This means the “theoretical surplus available for disposal with the producer,
left after his genuine requirements of family consumption, payme