Market Information System for Agricultural Prices in Romania
ABSTRACT The paper presents the result of a project by which the establishment of a market information system for the agricultural markets in Romania was envisaged. On the web site www.preturiagronet. ro in the created database, the prices of the main crop and animal products are displayed on the basis of certain inputting mechanisms discussed and agreed with the five partners (associations and professional organizations in the field) involved in project development. The paper presents the infrastructure used for the program design and the partial results concerning the inputting for agricultural prices in the created database.
Market Information System for Agricultural Prices in Romania
C. Alboiu, C. Alexandri, C. Kevorchian, L. Luca
The paper presents the result of a project by which the establishment of a market information system
for the agricultural markets in Romania was envisaged. On the web site www.preturi-agronet.ro
in the created database, the prices of the main crop and animal products are displayed on the basis of
certain inputting mechanisms discussed and agreed with the five partners (associations and
professional organizations in the field) involved in project development. The paper presents the
infrastructure used for the program design and the partial results concerning the inputting for
agricultural prices in the created database.
Keywords: agricultural prices, market information system
Although in agriculture a series of measures and policies were adopted that made it possible for
Romania to join the European Union, there is no dedicated market information system in place that
enables the Romanian farmers to participate under fair conditions on an increasingly integrated and
global market. This market information system will imply the increase of farmers’ abilities to
compete on a Single Market, in an economy governed by the computer science, information and
technology, in order to make it easier for farmers and investors in the field to better understand the
dynamics of local, regional, national and even international markets. As a result, the project will
contribute to the increase in the level of knowledge and information of players on the agricultural
markets and it will benefit all the operators from the agri-food chain: farmers, exporters,
wholesalers, processors, etc. The system will permit them to make correct decisions and minimize
the business risk. This will also benefit the government officials and decision-makers for the
accurate analysis of the sector and the formulation of adequate policies in this sector.
The main objective of the paper is to facilitate the access of target groups to information in real time
on the agricultural prices practiced in Romania by main types of markets.
This objective is reached by means of an Information System for the Agricultural Markets. In this
respect, the main objectives were the following:
1. Identification of end-users and establishment of the necessary information type.
The establishment mechanisms for basic information taking over in cooperation with
the associations and professional organizations.
2. Design and creation of the database PRETURI AGRO (agricultural prices).
3. Design and creation of site for the presentation, communication with beneficiaries
and on-line dissemination of the information on agricultural prices found on the site.
4. Database implementation and setting into operation; creation of statistics
5. Information system maintenance and development.
6. Design, development, multiplication and distribution of the Information Bulletin "
MARKET REPORT " both on line and print format among the target groups .
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
The economic theory underlines that the market transparency and the free movement of information
represent an essential condition for the operation of competitional markets.
“A market information system is an instrument that involves the collection on a regular basis of
information on prices and, in some cases, quantities of widely traded agricultural products from
rural assembly markets, wholesale and retail markets, as appropriate, and dissemination of this
information on a timely basis through various media to farmers, traders, government officials, policy
makers and others, including consumers” (Shepherd, 1998:http://www.fao.org/DOCREP).
The government officials’ role to provide information to the players in the agricultural sector is
extremely important, as in a competitive market economy the information is a vital factor in
minimizing the risk. The more informed a farmer or agricultural entrepreneur is, the better the
decision he / she makes in running his / her own business.
In the economic literature, it is almost unanimously agreed that agriculture is a risky business. Antle
and Hatchett (1986), for example, characterize the risk in the agricultural business in relation to the
production decisions. The quality of these decisions and hence the success on the agricultural
markets depend on the information available to farmers at the respective moment. The government
officials’ role in providing accurate information is very important. Kilmer (1997), for example, in
one of his works suggests that among all the governmental programs, the farmer information activity
is fundamental. Among other studies that highlighted the importance of the government’s role in
providing information to the players along the agri-food chains we mention those by Hayami and
Peterson (1972). Knutson (1993) explained the government’s role in providing market information
and stated that the free access to information contributes to the creation of more efficient and
competitive markets. At the same time, at the European Union level, there are such studies and
functional systems that are operated under public-private level, while others under public or private
system (e.g. in Great Britain, Germany, France, etc.).
3. METHOD and IMPLEMENTATION
3.1. Design of agronet price application
For the beginning we present the infrastructure used for designing the AGRONET Price application:
1. Application server operating
Windows 2008 Enterprise
Programming languages used
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2008-Reporting Services
Visual Studio Team System 2008
6. T-SQL, VB.NET
It must be highlighted that this infrastructure was selected to accommodate a larger range of
applications necessary for the information/research activity and to be a platform for computer-
assisted research. It has been choosen because it offers several advantages:
a. Possibility to work with several tables simultaneously;
b. Data handling from several data sources on a simultaneous basis (from different
databases, XML files, etc.);
c. Facilitating the data exchange with other applications (components) by XML;
d. Easy connection to various control systems;
e. Data use without database reinterrogation
The paper presents the application as it is available on www.preturi-agronet.ro and it covers three
components devoted to:
• preparation of data provided by partners
• search in the database – search engine
• reporting – the report system that accompanies the application.
These components are in line with a 3-tier1 architecture:
• data layer – a relational database, in our case SQL Server 2008
• business layer – a family of objects (classes) implementing the business logic components
with functionalities for data access (loading from data layer and saving the modifications
back in data layer)
• user interface layer – the part that displays the data from the business objects for the user and
permits their modification and the business logic execution on the user’s command
3.2. Data base organization
The Preţuri AGRO NET web application system is based on the IAE-MIS (Institute of
Agricultural Economics-Market Information System) database developed in SQL Server 2008.
The loading level of database and its componency are presented in the system report below:
Disk Usage by Table
1 3-tier is a client-server architecture where the user interface layer, the business layer, and the data layer are developed and maintained as separate,
independent modules, most often by the plataform on which they are developed.
on CK-WIN2K8 at 06.07.2009 14:43:48
This report provides detailed data on the utilization of disk space by tables within the Database.
Table Name Table Name # Records # Records
Reserved (KB) Reserved (KB) Data (KB) Data (KB) Indexes (KB) Indexes (KB)
6 80 16 8
18 16 8
9 16 8
3 80 16
41 80 16
4 80 16
64 16 8
7 80 16
5 80 16
2.347 712 688
64 16 8
0 0 0
The application nomenclature system at database level is the following:
• NomCatProd – Nomenclature of product categories
• NomProd – Nomenclature of products
• NomGrUtilizare- Nomenclature of utilization groups
• NomCatCalit – Nomenclature of quality levels for the products included in NomProd
• NomCanCom- Nomenclature of marketing channels
• NomNivAgreg- Nomenclature of aggregation levels of non-aggregated (farm) prices farm-
locality, locality-county, county-country
• NomJud- Nomenclature of counties
• NomUM- Nomenclature of measure units
• NomUnitRap- Nomenclature of reporting units (Partners)
• PretDB is the table that stores the prices according to the partners’ reporting. The data are
inputted on the basis of a web application that is part of the Preţuri AGRO NET web
application system. The application system for database editing and maintenance includes
facilities for data adding, deleting, modification, both from Preturi AGRONET and from the
IAE-MIS database management system.
In the case when the online editing is not possible, the application provides offline editing tools. The
asynchronous processing takes place at the moment when it is not possible for the application to be
available on the Internet, and the solutions are of Windows type.
The reports resulting from the price database operation will be published for their dissemination on
the web server through Reporting Services at SQL Server level.
The web application that enables the creation and maintenance of the IAE – Market Information
System is Preturi AGRONET.
3.3. Data presentation and end user interaction
The application was developed in VB.NET on VS Team System for DataBase 2008, and the access
to its functions is conditional on the authentication by a username and a password that the user has
to ask from the application administrators. Their administration is achieved through the “Web Site
Administration Tool” interface, whose administration window is presented in Figure 2,
and the authentication web form is the following: