Promotion Of Produce – Even Distribution Channel
As we have already mentioned, the nature of agricultural products makes it difficult to brand them. Without branding, promotion can not be done effectively. By processing their produces, farmers are more enabled to develop promotional programmes for increasing the patronage they obtain from buyers. Also where the cost of production can be reduced and lower prices are being offered by buyers, it is easier for specific producers or sellers to use promotional means (such as advertising and sales promotion) or sellers to use promotional means to attract potential buyers to themselves.
But, generally speaking, there is very little or no promotion for agricultural products in Nigeria. When there is much improvement in production and competition becomes serious among producers, promotion and consumption would be taken more seriously by farmers and producer sellers.
As promotion is very important, also the channels of production as well as distribution used for agricultural products are usually short. This is often as a result of the perishable nature of the produces. The two most used channels are zero level channels (from producers or farmers to the ultimate consumers or industrial users) and then the one level channel (from producers or farmers to retailers or agents and to the ultimate consumer or industrial users. The dwindling financial resources of the farmers and the existence of produce sellers unions in the urban areas of the country are increasingly making it difficult for produces to be sold directly.
Big produce speculators now scout round, buy from producers in the farms and then come to the urban areas to sell to retailers. Sometime, they buy and store for upwards of three to six months in order to create artificial scarcity before selling, so as to obtain higher prices. This trend is favoured by the lack of capital on the part of the farmers and the high cost of transportation to the rural areas.
The retailers in the urban areas are formed into allied traders or market associations. These associations are close knit and sometimes regulate the quantities of the products to be offered to the market in order to create artificial scarcity as a means of raising prices. They usually prevent farmers and non members who bring produces to the urban collective markets to sell from doing so. Government efforts to curb the excesses of these traders associations have proved ineffective over the years.
Farmers are required or even encouraged to develop their own promotional programmes which will in turn help them to increase the patronage for their farm produce. In relation to the promotion of their produce, there was also a situation where the cost used in the production of the farm produce can be reduced or even a possibility of selling at a lower price.
Most times the famers experience difficulties due to the fact that most farm produce are perishable products, this is often seen in situation where these good doesn’t get to the final destination and some buyers take advantage because of the nature of the produces. In distribution of these produces farmers are advised to use the two most used channels of distribution to distribute these farm produce even after promotion.