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Role of Transport and Communication in Agricultural Marketing

Development of transport and communication is vital in the development of agricultural marketing. Their significance can hardly be exaggerated in the marketing of farm products for the following reasons :

(a) Better communication means lower transport cost and the market price of the commodity remaining the same and the share of the intermediaries unchanged, the share of the producer increases ;

(b) High percentage of village sales of the agricultural commodities which operate to the disadvantage of the producers may be done away with to a great extent by improved communication ;

(c) Improved communication will remove the present high level of inter-regional price differences which operate to the disadvantage of both producers and consumers and will bring about an equalisation of prices for particular commodities throughout the country by removing glut condition in any particular area and deficit in another ;

(d) Improved communication is indispensable for perishable commodities ; and

(e) Imporved communication will relieve to a great extent the strain on the draught animals of the country now imposed by bad communication and consequently increase their efficiency for cultivation.

In Bangladesh, the overall situation of the transport system is not satisfactory. The total mileage of metalled roads are not adequate to properly handle the agricultural commodities for better marketing. The unmetalled roads, most of which are at present in a deplorable conditions, can not meet the growing requirements of the village producers in the movement of farm produce from the rural areas to the town areas. Inland water transport is the mainstay of the transport system of Bangladesh. Until 1958, these services were being provided by several independent and diffused services but, thereafter, the East Pakistan

Inland Water Transport Authority was established to provide essential services and regulate traffic and roads. After independence this Authority has been renamed as Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority. This Authority is now in a position to make possible an accelerated development of inland water transport in Bangladesh. It aims at improving all the major river ports and modernising their transport fleet. It is hoped that with the implementation of this programe, the bottlenecks and holdups of the agricultural commodities in their transport will be minimised.

In order to increase the efficiency of agricultural marketing in our country, the transport facilities through roads, railways, rivers, steamers, etc., should further be improved. Equal importance should be given for improving communi-cations between farms, villages and village markets. Concessional parcel rates should be granted for agricultural commo-dites by railway and inland water authorities, Refrigerated space as well as ice-cooled vans should be provided for the transport of perishable commodities (such facilities have been provided between Peshwar and Karachi, and Quetta and Karachi.

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