Agricultural Commodities Trading Guide

Primary agricultural products can help investors earn attractive returns. While people often indulge in the physical trade of commodities, investors use derivatives to earn profits. Investors keep a tab on agricultural, energy, environmental, and other commodities. Some of you might only be familiar with equity, derivatives, currencies, or mutual funds. It is essential to diversify your portfolio by trading in agricultural commodities. Read on to understand what agricultural commodities trading is in detail.

What is Agricultural Commodities Trading?

Agricultural commodities trading refers to the exchange of raw materials or soft commodities. Commodities can be divided into two categories, namely hard and soft commodities. Hard commodities are extracted from the earth. On the other hand, soft commodities are grown with the help of agricultural practices. Agricultural or Agro commodities usually refer to the soft commodities grown by farmers or entities. Some examples are wheat, corn, soybean, rice, barley, sugar, coffee, and cocoa. Investors can physically exchange these commodities or trade them through derivatives.

How to Trade in Agricultural Commodities?

Here’s how one can trade in these commodities:

  • Learn the Basics: Commodity trading differs slightly from equity, currencies, or other instruments. One must learn the basics of commodity trading before investing their money.

  • Choose Between Physical and Online Trading: You can purchase physical commodities in spot markets. Some commodity exchanges also allow the physical delivery of agro commodities. However, retail investors usually do not indulge in the physical trading of commodities. They usually trade commodities through derivatives, like options and futures. These contracts are settled in cash, and investors do not indulge in the physical delivery of commodities.

  • Select an Online Trading Platform: You need an online trading platform to access these commodities. An online trading platform will offer access to commodity exchanges. The platform can help you buy and sell derivatives. You will also need a brokerage account to transact on stock/commodity exchanges. A reputed stockbroker in India can help you open a trading account for buying/selling these commodities.

  • Develop Your Trading Strategy: To succeed, you must have a definite commodity trading strategy, clear financial objectives, and entry/exit strategies.

  • Implement Risk Management Practices: You must implement risk management strategies to protect your portfolio when trading in agricultural commodities.

  • Invest and Make Informed Decisions: Once you invest in these commodities, it is essential to track the market changes. You must implement risk management and entry and exit strategies based on the market conditions.

Factors that Influence Agricultural Commodity Prices

You must be familiar with the factors that impact the prices of agricultural commodities, such as:

  • Weather/Climate Conditions: Raw materials produced through agriculture depend heavily on weather conditions. For instance, you might grow some raw materials only in a particular season and not in others.

  • Supply/Demand Dynamics: Prices of commodities depend on demand and supply. They will increase due to high demand in different markets. They might also increase due to decreased supply, as there will be a shortage of agricultural commodities.

  • Exchange Rate Changes: The prices of commodities are tied to different currencies in derivatives. Changes in the exchange rate can impact the commodity prices.

  • Disasters and Outbreaks: Pest outbreaks, pandemics, and other disasters can damage the production of raw materials and lead to a change in commodity prices.

  • Investors’ Sentiment: Investors often speculate on commodity prices through derivatives. The interest of investors in the market can impact commodity prices.

  • Government Policies: Government policies can impact the prices of agricultural commodities. Import/export laws, tax policies, and other factors can influence traders’ decisions, thus impacting the prices.

Top Agro Commodities Traded in India

A range of agricultural commodities is available for traders in India. Here are some of the popular commodities traded in India:

  • Rice: India is among the top producers of rice in the world. It actively exports Basmati, non-Basmati, and other rice varieties to different countries. Not to forget, rice is the daily diet of many Indians.

  • Wheat: Wheat is another popular staple food in India. Commodities traders actively trade wheat in different markets.

  • Cotton: India and China have always been the top producers of cotton. Textile, apparel, medical, and other industries actively use cotton.

  • Spices: When it comes to commodity trading in India, spices are not to be ignored. Cardamom, turmeric, and other indigenous spices are actively traded in markets.

  • Sugar: India has a large sugar industry, which attracts commodity investors. The common population requires sugar or related products daily.

  • Coffee: Coffee is also among the top-traded commodities in India.

Benefits of Agricultural Commodities Trading

Here are the pros of agricultural commodities trading for investors:

  • Portfolio Diversification:Investing in agricultural commodities can help diversify your portfolio. You can prevent potential losses through portfolio diversification.

  • Hedging Against Inflation: Commodity trading can help investors protect their portfolios from rising prices. You can indulge in commodity trading through futures and options to hedge against inflation. Futures and options allow investors to buy/sell commodities at a predetermined price.

  • Attractive Returns: Commodities can help investors earn attractive returns. You can wait for price fluctuations in the market and make profits. Also, commodity trading through derivatives can help you earn returns during upward and downward price movements.

  • Choice Between Physical Delivery and Cash Settlement: You aren’t forced to deliver agricultural commodities physically. You can trade Agro commodities through derivatives and rely on cash settlement.

  • Global Availability: Agricultural commodities are traded in markets in different jurisdictions. Investing in foreign commodities can give you international exposure. However, you must refer to the regulations before investing in foreign markets.


Agricultural commodities can help investors diversify their portfolios and earn better returns. You can trade wheat, pulses, sugar, rice, fruits, and other Agro commodities. While physical delivery is possible in spot markets, retail investors usually trade commodities through derivatives. You can speculate on the prices of commodities through futures and options. Learn the basics of commodity trading now!