The study was carried out on 120 randomly selected livestock farmers in Jaipur district of Rajasthan for comparative analysis between advance and conventional ICT tools in their accessibility, availability and usage. Data were collected through structured interview schedule. The study revealed that mobile phone was very frequently used ICT tool that is accessed and availed by all the livestock farmers of study area. Besides this internet and television were also available and accessible to the majority of the livestock farmers but radio had limited accessibility and availability (18.33% each). Usage of ICTs for market price of inputs and marketing of produce was mainly through advance tool viz. mobile phone (65.00% each) followed by internet (11.67% each). The study also revealed that advance ICT tool viz. mobile phone and internet were most used in comparison to conventional ICT tool for various purposes in livestock sector.
India’s public extension system accounts for only a small percentage of farmer’s information sources. Farmer to farmer informal exchanges remains the main channel for accessing information and new technologies in India (Anonymous, 2005). Apart from this, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools have wast potential of altering livestock sector in a better and much productive way and can contribute to its overall development. However, it was felt that due to the insufficient cognition and selective information towards these tools, farmers are not getting benefits. Low productivity of animals owing to the low level of the ICT exposure to livestock owners remains an unresolved issue and a major challenge for the future. Agricultural knowledge and related information is the basic criteria for increased productivity and development in India (Das, 2012). The main purpose of animal husbandry information sources is to reach farmers who cannot be contacted personally by extension workers, in the shortest possible time because adequate access to knowledge and information is the least expensive input to amend livestock sector.
According to Elijah and Ogunlade (2006), there are three categories of ICTs viz. advance ICTs (computer, internet and mobile phone), conventional ICTs (radio, TV, land line telephone and telegraph) and really old ICTs (newspaper, books and libraries). Information delivered through ICT can be timelier and can reach a greater number of farmers directly (Richardson, 1996). Access to ICTs could reduce transaction costs related to information searching and reduce knowledge and information asymmetries, particularly related to market price information (De Silva and Ratnadiwakara, 2008). Use of ICT tools has potential to change the economy of livestock, agriculture and rural artisans in India (Sasidhar and Sharma, 2006) because ICT based information delivery system played very effective role in the agriculture development and in the decision making of farmer’s communities in different countries (Cash, 2001; Galloway and Mochrie, 2005; Opara, 2008 and Taragola and Van Lierde, 2010). Availability and delivery of information and knowledge to the farmers on the right time and in right way leads to more productivity and more profitability and makes the process of extension rapid and more effective. ICTs enable the exchange of information about weather forecasting, best production practices, innovations in housing and feeding management of livestock, disease control, species and breed details, dairy herd management, vaccination & immunization, livestock production and marketing of livestock and livestock products and prices etc. Extension should be able to access this kind of information and shift from purely disseminating information to assessing and brokering relevant information.
In recent years, ICTs have been introduced in livestock projects which have furnished fruitful results in livestock development. Information, rewarded with success stories, can motivate human to adopt healthy livestock technologies. For instance, information on immunization, calf mortality, maternal mortality, sanitation, nutritional awareness and causes, prevention and treatment of disease can be disseminated far and wide via ICTs. The enhanced and smooth communication results in the overall development of the livestock sector of the country (Saravanan, 2010). The traditional methods of extension approaches have less accountability and effectiveness in comparison to ICT in terms of time management, larger audience coverage and greater impression on people where ICT tools can be used to impart information and knowledge, and that in turn will lead to motivation, mobilization and action to do something better in livestock sector. Thus, the information delivery system should include technology to impart the information and knowledge to the livestock farmers. So, these ICT tools are the demand of hour.
Materials and Methods
An exploratory research design was conducted in the state of Rajasthan, North-East India on accessibility, availability and usage of different ICT tools by livestock farmers. State was purposively selected through criterion sampling due to the Rajasthan is rich in livestock wealth and peoples of the state are using various ICT tools in their day to day life to adopt better life style. Further, Jaipur district was selected purposively on the basis of prospective rate of information accessibility, availability, usage, good informative network and livestock wealth status as compared to other districts of Rajasthan.
A total of 120 respondents who were using ICT tools were selected randomly from two tehsils of Jaipur district namely Sanganer and Shahpura. In the next stage of sampling, six villages were selected randomly from each selected tehsils. Total twelve villages were selected for the study. From each village, an exhaustive list of livestock farmers using ICT tools for livestock information was prepared. Out of these, 10 respondents were selected randomly. Thus, total 120 respondents were selected for the study. Different statistical tools like frequency, percentage and chi square test were used to draw the inferences.
Accessibility of ICTs
It is operationalised as the degree to which an individual respondent is able to use ICTs or its applications for the purpose of livestock farming. A scoring of 1 and 0 was given to the respondents accessing ICTs and not accessing ICTs respectively.
Availability of ICTs
It is operationally defined as the degree to which an individual respondent possess ICTs or its applications for the purpose of livestock farming. A scoring of 1 and 0 was given to the respondents possessing ICTs and not possessing ICTs respectively.
Usage of ICTs
It is operationally defined as the degree of frequency and purpose of use of ICTs by the individual respondents for livestock farming at the time of investigation. The various dimensions to study the usage of ICTs among the individual respondents under livestock sector were availability and quality of inputs, general care and management, scheme and services on animal husbandry and marketing of produce etc. For frequency of usage, very frequently is defined in terms of its usage of ICTs ‘daily’, frequently in terms of its usage of ICTs ‘once a week’, occasionally in terms of its usage of ICTs ‘once a month’ and rarely in terms of usage of ICTs ‘once in three months’. The responses were measured with a scoring pattern of 4, 3, 2 and 1 for very frequently, frequently, occasionally and rarely, respectively.
Results and Discussion
Accessibility of ICTs to Livestock Farmers
Table 1 for the level of accessibility of ICTs reveals that all the livestock farmers (100%) had accessibility to mobile phones. The reason for higher accessibility of mobile phones compared to other ICT tools might be due to fact that it is affordable, portable as well as useful during emergencies. This is in accordance with the findings of Angello (2015), Chikaire et al. (2015) and Rebekka and Saravanan (2015). Further, in the study it was found that internet was also accessible for 72.50 per cent livestock farmers in the study area. Besides these two advance ICT tools, television as conventional ICT tool was also accessed by a great majority of the livestock farmers included in the study of selected district which was 92.50 per cent. The results are in agreement with the findings of Ramaraju et al. (2011) and Singh et al. (2014). The reason for higher accessibility of these ICT tools might be due to the fact that most of the livestock farmers were from young and middle age category and were literate. The data in Table further reveals that other conventional ICT tool viz. radio was accessed by few respondents which were 18.33 per cent. Now a days radio is going to be abolish from most of the houses this may be due to the advancement in the technology.
Table 1: Accessibility of ICTs to livestock farmers (n=120)
|S. No.||ICT Tools||Accessible||Not Accessible|
Availability of ICTs among the Respondents
Table 2 presents the level of availability of different ICTs tools among the livestock farmers. It is clear from the Table that all the livestock farmers (100.00%) had mobile phones.
Table 2: Availability of ICTs among livestock farmers (n=120)
|S. No.||ICT Tools||Available||Not Available|
This may be due to the reason that mobile phones are easily affordable and can be used by illiterate livestock farmers also. Internet was also available to 63.33 per cent livestock farmers. Further in the study, it was reported that great majority of livestock farmers (93.33%) had availability of television at their places. Similar finding were reported by Angello (2015). A small per cent of livestock farmers (18.33%) had availability of radio.
Usage and Purpose of Utilization of ICTs
It can be observed from Table 3 that mobile phone was most frequently used ICT tool among the livestock farmers using it very frequently by 97.50 per cent respondents. Similar finding was reported by Angello (2015). This indicates that the usage of mobile phones is increasing at an alarming rate. This may be due to the reason that mobile phones are easily affordable and could be used by even illiterate farmers. The usage trend in mobile phones also indicates that it can offer huge scope in the future if appropriately used for the purpose of livestock farming. Internet was also used by some of the respondents in which 10.00 per cent was frequent users, 16.67 was occasionally users and 40.00 per cent was rare users.
Table 3: Frequency of usage of ICTs among livestock farmers (n=120)
|List of ICTs||Frequency of usage|
Next to mobile phones and internet, television was used occasionally by 42.50 per cent, frequently by 26.67 per cent and rarely by 18.33 per cent livestock farmers, respectively. This finding is in line with that of Ramaraju et al. (2011). It is also clear from Table 3 that the use of radio was lower as compared to mobile phones, internet and television since the level of availability and accessibility of this ICT tool was also lower as compared to other ICTs.
The distribution of respondents on the basis of purpose of utilization of ICTs in livestock sector has been presented in Table 4. It is clear from the table that usage of ICTs for availability and quality of inputs was mainly through internet (5.00% each). The usage of ICTs for market price of inputs and marketing of produce was mainly through mobile phone (65.00% each) followed by internet (11.67% each). The findings shows that livestock farmers mainly used mobile phone to communicate with the middlemen in the markets to communicate efficiently and to prevent the middlemen from cheating them as through the use of mobile phones they could track in which market and at what price they are selling from time to time. This is also in line with the findings of Oyeyinka and Bello (2013). This table further reveals that mobile phone was the most widely used ICT tool used for the purpose of general care and management (61.67%), health management (60.83%), sanitation (57.50%), treatment (52.50%), vaccination (45.83%), details about trainings, animal fairs/livestock show and kisan mela (44.17% each) and information about schemes & services on animal husbandry (33.33%).
Table 4: Purpose of usage of ICTs in livestock sector (n=120)
|Availability of inputs||2||1.67||6||5||0||0||0||0|
|Quality of inputs||1||0.83||6||5||0||0||0||0|
|Market price of inputs||78||65||14||11.67||7||5.83||0||0|
|Marketing of produce||78||65||14||11.67||0||0||0||0|
|General care and management||74||61.67||10||8.33||18||15||5||4.16|
|Feed and fodders||15||12.5||6||5||9||7.5||3||2.5|
|Availability of breeds||4||3.33||7||5.83||2||1.67||0||0|
|Clean milk production||4||3.33||7||5.83||5||4.17||5||4.16|
|Value addition of products||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Schemes and services on animal husbandry||40||33.33||8||6.67||1||0.83||2||1.67|
|Animal fairs/ Livestock show||53||44.17||4||3.33||0||0||0||0|
It can be concluded from the results that mobile phone was reported to be used by the livestock farmers to contact experts, extension personnel, veterinary officers, livestock assistants and progressive farmers to enquire about the recommended health management, treatment, vaccination, scheme and services on animal husbandry, trainings, animal fairs/livestock show and Kisan mela etc. The result is in agreement with the findings of Angello (2015) who revealed that mobile phones were used more than any other ICTs.
A perusal of Table 4 reveals that many respondents were also using television for getting information on general care and management & health management (15.00% each), sanitation (14.17%) and vaccination and feed and fodders (7.50% each) livestock farmers preferred to watch the television programmes broadcasted through Doordarshan Kendra, Jaipur to gather information on these aspects. Radio was also used by few livestock farmers for getting information about general care and management, clean milk production (4.16% each), information on health managements or feed and fodder (2.50% each) and scheme and services on animal husbandry (1.67%). A great majority of the livestock farmers were unaware about usage of ICTs for getting information on availability of breeds, clean milk production, availability of inputs, quality of inputs, value addition of products, insurance and online loan/banking.
All livestock farmers had availability and access to mobile phones because it is affordable, portable as well as very useful during emergencies. Besides mobile phones, internet and television were also reported to be available and accessible by majority of the livestock farmers. Mobile phone was the most frequently and widely used while radio was least used ICT tool among the livestock farmers being used for the purpose of getting information and knowledge on different aspects of livestock farming. At last it was concluded that advance ICT tools viz. mobile and internet has marked impression in livestock sector in comparison to conventional ICT tolls viz. television and radio.
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