What does data on farm output tell us about the rural economy? What are the different indicators available?

Continuing the series on tracking the agro-rural economy, we looked at how data on Rainfall departures and Fertiliser sales are an indicative measure of rural consumption and demand. 

In this article, we will look at how the Sales Pulse tracks the farm output or the Agricultural Produce. Before we begin on the list of indicators available, it is important to take a step back and understand how the data is tracked. 


After reaping their agricultural produce, the farmers load it into trucks and carry it to the nearest Mandi. The government has set up Agricultural Produce Markets (APMC) in district clusters. These APMCs or Mandis is where the farmers (sellers) and wholesales (buyers) would converge to buy the produce in bulk. The price is dependent on the quantity, quality and the minimum support price (MSP) set by the government. From the Mandis, the produce is then transported to retail markets, processing factories etc.

The farmer may choose to sell her produce at a mandi outside of their district as well. This decision is driven by their experience of the mandi and the historical prices offered. 

Hence, even though the crop was produced in Sonipat, the farmer may choose to travel to the Gurgaon mandi. The data for the same would then be recorded in Gurgaon, and not in Sonipat.

Indicators in the Sales Pulse

The Sales Pulse tracks all the major types of agricultural produce sold in the mandis. These include: 

  1. Beverages

  2. Cereals

  3. Drugs and Narcotics

  4. Dry fruits

  5. Fibre crops

  6. Forest products

  7. Fruits

  8. Live stock poultry and fisheries

  9. Oil seeds

  10. Oils and fats

  11. Pulses

  12. Spices

  13. Vegetables

  14. Others

All of these produce types are then broken down by individual items. For example, for cereals, the Sales Pulse tracks

  1. Bajra
  2. Jowar
  3. Maize
  4. Paddy
  5. Rice, and 
  6. Wheat

Similarly, for the other categories, the Sales Pulse tracks the individual items for all the above. In all, the Sales Pulse tracks more than 100 agricultural commodities for all the 717 districts of the country. 


For each of the individual agricultural commodity, the Sales Pulse captures three key metrics: 

  1. Modal Price: price most paid for the commodity in the district

  2. Total arrivals: Total tonnes of the commodity brought to the mandi

  3. Total value: Total sales value of the commodity (modal price x arrivals)

For each of the above indicators, you can track both the Absolute values as well as the percentage change over the last year.

This helps answer questions like: 

  1. What is the total agricultural produce in Sonipat? How was it changed since last year?
  2. Which are the districts that are the major producers of spices in India? How has the prices for these spices moved?
  3. Have farmers got a better price for their produce since last year? How is that expected to affect rural consumption?

The agmarknet data only captures agricultural commodities sold in the agricultural mandis. It does not capture data on direct procurement from farmers. 

This is one reason why there will be minimal data on cash crops like coffee, tea, cotton etc.