Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. Marketing is about bringing the right product, at the right price, at the right place to the right customer. Developing an effective marketing strategy is an important factor to success fro vegetable growers.
Marketing methods is one of the important components of marketing strategies for vegetable growers. Marketing methods involve deciding where to market. It depends on large part on the volume of produce to be marketed. More alternatives are available if the produce is large. Small scale producers may be restricted to local or regional markets whereas larger producers are able to market on national and international levels also. Small producers may also market their produce at national level markets by selling their produce through co- operatives or organized farmer’s market etc.
There are advantages and disadvantages of various methods of marketing. The method which gives the highest price may not be the best method. The best method is one which supports the grower at any time. Following are some of the alternative methods of marketing vegetables:
Local Markets: these are easier to access because they can be served by an individual grower with a small or large volume of produce.
U-pick markets can be a method of selling in local markets. A You –Pick ( “U-Pick”) or pick your own farm operation is a type of direct marketing ( farm to table) strategy where customers do their own harvest. It eliminates the cost of harvesting and transporting produce to market. It can be a part of agri tourism or rural tourism too. The consumers as well as the growers get the products at right price as there is no involvement of intermediaries. But there are some limitations of this method as consumers may damage the field while picking on their own. For even more harvesting the growers may harvest on their own and sell in the field only. Another disadvantage may be that the growers need to provide additional management and capital investment to prevent field damage and to provide for fee collection. Other factors include advertising, traffic control, containers, and supervision of pickers. The important factor for determining the success of U pick operations is the location of the field. The field must be near large population as well as it should be roadside. If the location is not in a main traffic area there need to be advertisement too.
Roadside shops: it also eliminates the involvement of intermediaries as a farm producer sells directly to consumers. It is a seasonal, temporary or semi temporary structure that may be located on or off the farm. Based on the location the transportation cost may vary. Success of roadside shop ddepends on locating near a large urban population centre , a long selling season, availability of vegetable production and developing repeat customers through goodwill and consistency of supply.
City and local farmer’s market: these are roadside shops in urban area. These markets are generally well established and have a clientele base who purchase in the local market. The disadvantage includes higher transportation costs. But the advantage is that growers need not advertise their produce.
Local retail outlets: These are locally owned and operated grocery stores and produce markets. The chain store type of supermarket usually has a central purchasing department who generally do not purchase locally. But to sell in local retail outlet the grower has to be consistent in producing quality and quantity.
Based on problems and opportunities associated with marketing of vegetables in local market the appropriate method needs to be chosen. A sound marketing strategy should be developed before a crop is planted.
B. Sc (Agriculture) , Assam agricultural University, Jorhat.
MBA (Marketing and Finance) , Gauhati University
Ex Tea Planter, presently working as Placement Officer, Gauhati University
4th semester student B. Sc ( Horticulture) , College of Horticulture, Assam agricultural University, jorhat