“Marketing Infrastructure &amp

Agricultural Marketing Reforms"These farmers face several constraints and do not receive timely information. Inefficient water management, land holdings, credit facility, marketing of their produce and lack of value addition at the farm level are some of the constraints that the farmers face. Thus managing these farmers and providing support services is what led to forming agricultural cooperatives in India.
Since the 1950s, cooperatives in various segments in the Indian economy have made steady progress. Today India has the largest number of cooperatives in the world with a membership of over 200 million. Around 28 percent of the total cooperatives are the agricultural cooperatives with 137 million memberships dealing directly or indirectly with the agricultural sector (Ramesha, 2003). Agriculture contributes around 25% of the GDP and employs 65% of the workforce in the country. Agriculture and agriculture marketing is covered both by the states as well as the central government (AMR, n.d.). The cooperatives cover all the villages in the country and supply about 46 percent of the total rural credit. They are also responsible for the distribution of fertilizers. The agricultural cooperatives credit structure has seen quantitative expansion but has structural defects and operational deficiencies. The main deficiencies are due to weak recycling of credit, poor resource mobilization, ineffective lending, and poor recovery.
It was in 1958 that department of agriculture formed a Department of Cooperation under the Ministry of Community Development. In 1966, the Ministry of Community Development and Cooperation was merged with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which then came to be known as Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Community Development and Cooperation (Agricoop, 2007). In 1971, this was again renamed as Ministry of Agriculture with four departments – department of agriculture, department of food, department of community development and department of co-operation.