Marketing Boards

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Marketing boards are bodies set up by an Act of Parliament to handle the sale of a particular product. Before such a board is set up, the government will get the agreement of a large proportion of the producers. Once established all producers must register with the Board and comply with all its regulations. The boards works on the formula of “unity is strength.” In the UK, marketing boards are set up for milk, hops, bacon, potatoes and wool. In Malaysia marketing boards along these same lines are also set up for cocoa, coconut, fish, tobacco, palm oil, peppers and short term crops.

The marketing boards are set up to ensure that farmers enjoy a stabilized income and get a fair return on their production by improving the marketing system for their produce. There are several reasons for establishing marketing boards. The government intervened in the marketing of rural produce by forming marketing boards. First reason was farmers’ income subject to fluctuations! Farmers were experiencing violent fluctuations in home as a result of fluctuating prices for their produce. The reason causing price fluctuation to take place is that unlike manufactured goods, the supply of agricultural produce cannot to be controlled by the farmers, famines; floods and diseases may wipe out virtually almost everything.

Very good weather conditions may result in bumper harvests. When supply is poor, prices rise. When supply is high, prices fall. In addition, since agricultural produce is perishable, all of it has to be released into the market thus bring about a drastic reduction in prices when the harvest is very good that season. The small, scattered farms do not have the proper storage or processing facilities to help them hold back excess produce without fear of their going bad. Agricultural produce comes in varying grades depending on the weather, handling methods, etc. So naturally, prices would fluctuate from harvest to harvest.

The second reason for establishing marketing boards was farmers not getting a fair return on their production. Since rural product consist mainly perishables they have to be transported very quickly to the market after harvest. The small rural farmer may be too poor to be able to acquire the necessary means of preserving them or to transport them to the market; or he may be too ignorant to be able to deal with this aspect of marketing. So, he is normally forced to sell off his produce at low prices to dealers who have the facilities and connections to market it.

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