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Beginner's Guide to Agri Commodity Trading

5 Mins 01 Mar 2023 0 COMMENT

Agricultural commodities are an essential part of the global economy, with a wide range of products, including crops, livestock, dairy products, and more. Trading in agri commodities can be a lucrative investment opportunity, but it also requires a good understanding of the market and the factors that influence prices. Whether you are a farmer looking to sell your crops or a beginner looking to invest in the agricultural sector, understanding the basics of agri commodity trading is essential. These commodities are traded on commodity exchanges, where buyers and sellers come together to determine the price of a particular commodity. This beginner's guide to agri commodity trading will help you understand the basics of this market and how you can start trading.

Understanding Agricultural Commodities

Agricultural commodities are raw or primary products that are derived from agriculture and livestock farming. Some of the most common agri commodities include wheat, corn, soybeans, sugar, coffee, cotton, and more. These commodities are traded in futures markets, where buyers and sellers agree to trade a certain amount of a commodity at a specific price and delivery date in the future.

Before you start trading in agri commodities, it is important to have a clear understanding of the market and the factors that influence commodity prices. Some of the key factors that influence commodity prices include weather conditions, crop yields, political and economic conditions, and the supply and demand for the commodity.

Another important aspect of agri-commodity trading is the use of futures contracts. Futures contracts are legally binding agreements to buy or sell a specific commodity at a predetermined price on a specific date in the future. These contracts allow traders to take advantage of price changes in the market without having to physically own the underlying commodity.

Value Chain Participants:

Agricultural commodities passes through various value chain participants such as farmers, commission agents, wholesalers, processors, exporters/importers, retailers and end consumers. The value chain is different based on need of the product requirement. Few examples are

  1. Farmers – Commission Agent – Wholesaler – Retailer – End Consumers
  2. Farmers – Processors – Wholesalers – Retailers – End Consumers
  3. Farmers – Commossion Agent – Exporter

Role of physical markets/mandis:

Physical markets or mandis act as a base center for agri-commodity derivative contracts. These are the places where buyers and sellers meet to exchange goods and pay commissions as well as mandi fees for use of the premises. In India, the Agriculture Produce Market Committees work under respective state government-enacted laws. Since commodities are deliverable contracts and price discovery in the place of production of that particular commodity plays a vital role, hence, it is very important to understand the physical market mechanism. Generally, farmers bring their produce to the nearest mandi to sell and buyers visit those mandis to purchase the goods. Commission agents act as an intermediary between buyers and sellers to effect a smooth transaction.

Major commodity exchanges

Globally Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) under CME Group is the largest agri commodity exchange for trading of soybeans, soybean oil, soybean meal, wheat, corn. Other global commodity exchanges are Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) for cotton, coffee, sugar and cocoa trading; Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) for Rubber futures, Bursa Malaysian Derivatives (BMD) exchange for Crude Palm Oil futures. On domestic front, National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) is the largest agri exchange with trading in most of agri commodities such as soybean, refined soy oil, RM seed, castor seeds, turmeric, jeera, dhaniya, guar seed, guar gum, cotton, cotton seed oil cake etc. and MCX for cotton, kapas and mentha oil.

Factors that Influence Agricultural Commodity Prices

There are several factors that can influence the prices of agri commodities, including supply and demand, weather conditions, geopolitical events, and government policies. For example, weather conditions such as droughts, floods, or hurricanes can disrupt the supply of certain commodities, causing prices to rise. On the other hand, changes in government policies or trade agreements can also affect the prices of agri commodities. For instance, the Indian government suspended futures trading in 9 agricultural commodities in December 2021, which is extended upto to December 2023. Internationally linked agricultural commodity prices are governed by tariffs and duties.

How to Start Trading Agricultural Commodities

To start trading in agri commodities, you need to open a brokerage account with a firm that specializes in commodity trading. You will also need to research the market, understand the different types of agri commodities available, and identify the factors that influence their prices. It's also essential to have a solid understanding of futures contracts, which are the primary instrument used in agri commodity trading. You can then place orders to buy or sell futures contracts. It is important to note that trading in agri commodities is risky, and you can potentially lose money if prices move against you. Therefore, it is important to have a solid understanding of the market and to develop a well-structured trading strategy.

Risk Management in Agricultural Commodity Trading

Agri commodity trading involves a significant amount of risk, as prices can be affected by a wide range of factors. To mitigate this risk, it's essential to have a solid risk management plan in place. This may include diversifying your portfolio, setting stop-loss orders, and using futures contracts to hedge your positions. It is also important to understand the different types of risks involved in agri commodity trading. For example, price risk is the risk that the price of a commodity will move against you, causing you to lose money. Market risk is the risk that the overall market will move against you, causing your portfolio to lose value. It is important to understand that agri commodity trading is a complex and dynamic market. The best way to succeed in this market is to continually educate yourself, stay informed about market trends, and follow a well-structured trading strategy.

Staying Up-to-Date with Market Trends

Finally, it's essential to stay up-to-date with market trends and news that can impact the prices of agri commodities. This includes monitoring weather forecasts, government policies, and geopolitical events, as well as staying informed about supply and demand trends in the global market.

One common trading strategy is to use technical analysis. Technical analysis involves using charts and other technical tools to study past market trends and make predictions about future price movements. This type of analysis is particularly useful in the volatile world of agri commodity trading, where prices can change quickly in response to new information.

Another popular trading strategy is to use fundamental analysis. Fundamental analysis involves studying the supply and demand dynamics of a particular commodity to make predictions about its future price. This type of analysis takes into account factors such as weather conditions, crop yields, and political and economic conditions to make predictions about the future supply and demand for a particular commodity.

Few contract specification


Cotton – MCX

Mentha Oil – MCX

Guar Seed – NCDEX

Jeera - NCDEX

Contract Size

48 Candy

360 Kg

5 MT

3 MT

Quotation base

Per Candy

Per Kg

Per 100 Kg

Per 100 Kg

Delivery Unit/


48 Candy

360 Kg

5 MT

3 MT

Delivery Logic





Expiry date

Last Day of Calendar Month

Last Day of Calendar Month

20th day of the delivery month

20th day of the delivery month

In conclusion, agri commodity trading can be a lucrative and exciting opportunity for those who understand the market and are willing to put in the time and effort to learn the basics. Whether you are a farmer looking to sell your crops or a beginner looking to invest in the agricultural sector, understanding the basics of agri commodity trading is essential to success. This beginner's guide to agri commodity trading has provided you with the basic knowledge and tools you need to start trading. However, it's always advisable to seek the advice of a professional financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Disclaimer: ICICI Securities Ltd. (I-Sec). Registered office of I-Sec is at ICICI Securities Ltd. - ICICI Venture House, Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai - 400 025, India, Tel No : 022 - 6807 7100. I-Sec is a Member of National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (Member Code :07730), BSE Ltd (Member Code :103) and Member of Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (Member Code: 56250) and having SEBI registration no. INZ000183631. Name of the Compliance officer (broking): Ms. Mamta Shetty, Contact number: 022-40701022, E-mail address: complianceofficer@icicisecurities.com. Investments in securities markets are subject to market risks, read all the related documents carefully before investing. The contents herein above shall not be considered as an invitation or persuasion to trade or invest.  I-Sec and affiliates accept no liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of any actions taken in reliance thereon. Such representations are not indicative of future results. The securities quoted are exemplary and are not recommendatory. The contents herein above are solely for informational purpose and may not be used or considered as an offer document or solicitation of offer to buy or sell or subscribe for securities or other financial instruments or any other product. Investors should consult their financial advisers whether the product is suitable for them before taking any decision. The contents herein mentioned are solely for informational and educational purpose.