4.19.1 The concept of market research survey in India dates back to 1935. It started with the establishment of the Office of Agricultural Marketing Adviser for investigation of the chain of operations from production through final distribution of crops, while establishing appropriate marketing standards. The market surveys are carried out by the marketing officers visiting the centres of concentrated production, as well as areas where production is relatively sparse. The information is collected by interviewing representatives of different groups of persons concerned in the production and distribution of the commodity affected, for example, producers, wholesalers, manufacturers, railway agents, etc. Each marketing officer is responsible for making sure that the sample interviews are representative of all the different groups of persons in the chain of distribution. With the setting up of a Market Research and Planning Cell (MRPC) in the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, the importance of market research has increased. While the headquarters of MRPC looks after the guidelines, questionnaire and schedules in use and synopsis for the collection and compilation of the data, the field offices located at various State capitals and important centres carry out the field surveys. The collection of data is done by teams of qualified and experienced officers through well-planned schedules and guidelines provided for the survey. The collected data are analysed and a report on each crop is published for the benefit of various market users.
4.19.2 It is reported that the field investigators often find it difficult to collect primary data from the producers of agricultural commodities, as they do not maintain any records. As a result, the information collected depends to a large extent on individual assessment by the investigators. Even so, the survey reports provide valuable information to the planners and policy makers. Several institutions both at the Central and State level carry out market research work. As there is no standard agricultural marketing research methodology, it is difficult to have uniformity in the work. A lot of statistics go into the preparation of the reports, but the MRPC is not adequately equipped to analyse and make full use of the data collected. The Cell has not been properly supported by statistical resources.
Conclusions and Recommendations
4.19.3 Despite the difficulty of getting accurate information from the producers of agricultural commodities and certain subjective element is involved in the data collection, the system seems to work well. However, as several institutions carry out market research, there is a need to prescribe a standard methodology for the survey work. This can better be achieved through appropriate support of statistical personnel and adoption of statistical techniques combined with the latest Information Technology tools.
4.19.4 The Commission, therefore, recommends that:
The Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) should establish a Statistical Cell either independently or within Market Research and Planning Cell (MRPC) with sufficiently trained statistical personnel to undertake comprehensive analysis of survey data and aid the decision-making process.
The Statistical Cell of Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) should identify the problems and deficiencies in the market research surveys carried out by different institutions and develop a standard methodology for uniform adoption.