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Correlation Analysis of Profile and Shepherds Preparedness towards Sheep Health Care in Andhra Pradesh, India

Mastanbi Shaik Bodapati Subrahmanyeswari
Vol 8(5), 143-149
DOI- http://dx.doi.org/10.5455/ijlr.20170713115418

Sheep husbandry is an important enterprise in the arid and semi-arid areas of India characterized by sparse vegetation, marginal land, and a high incidence of poverty. It is a low-investment sustainable enterprise yielding reasonably high rates of return. With this background, the present study was conducted in two districts of Andhra Pradesh, India with a total sample size of 180 sheep farmers to analyse the relationship between profile of shepherds and their preparedness towards sheep health care with specific reference to vaccination. The study revealed that among various characteristics of shepherds, socio-economic status and purpose of rearing sheep found to have positive significant correlation with preparedness of sheep farmers at 5% (p < 0.05) level. Whereas, social participation, extension contact, availability and accessibility of vaccines and veterinary services along with affordability and decision-making ability have positive significant correlation with preparedness of sheep farmers at 1% (p < 0.01) level. This trend indicated that importance of shepherds preparedness towards sheep health care practices which lead to higher productivity.


Keywords : Profile characteristics Preparedness Relationship Sheep farmers

Introduction

Livestock are essential to the economic, nutritional, and social wellbeing of the livestock farmers among which sheep husbandry acts as a primary source of income for majority of landless agricultural labourers and supplements the income of small and marginal farmers. Sheep husbandry is an important enterprise in the arid and semi-arid areas of India characterized by sparse vegetation, marginal land and a high incidence of poverty. Moreover as low-investment sustainable enterprise yields reasonably high rates of return. The sheep are valued for both mutton and wool production, although sheep productivity in terms of both is low. The reasons for low productivity of sheep are poor exploitation of genetic potential of native stock, inadequate feed resources, nutritional deficiency, heat stress, poor health monitoring, and inadequate marketing and credit support to sheep owners (Khan et al., 2002). Regular flock health monitoring could add value to their flocks. Hence, regular flock health planning i.e. shepherds preparedness is needed. Whereas, several factors affect and contribute towards shepherds preparedness with regard to animal health care. With this background, the present study was conducted to analyse the relationship between profile and preparedness of the sheep farmers towards sheep health care with specific reference to vaccination.

Material and Method                                        

The present study was conducted in Prakasam and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh, India. A total of 180 shepherds who were having at least 50 sheep were selected from 18 villages of six mandals of two districts through multistage sampling and interviewed through direct interview method. The data were collected using a pre-structured interview schedule developed for the purpose in consultation with other experts.  Sheep farmers were categorised into three groups based on flock size viz., small (66-231), medium (232-397) and large (398-562). Correlation analysis was employed to measure the strength or degree of linear association between various profile characteristics of sheep farmers and their preparedness towards sheep health care practices with specific reference to vaccination. The profile characteristics of sheep farmers were defined in terms of age, gender, socio-economic status, purpose of rearing sheep, social participation, extension contact, training received, availability and accessibility of vaccines and veterinary services, affordability and decision making ability.

Results and Discussion

The result of the investigation and corresponding discussion has been presented as follows-

Small Category of Sheep Farmers

Extension contact, availability & accessibility of vaccines and veterinary services, affordability of vaccines and veterinary services and decision-making ability were positively and significantly related with preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination at 1% level of significance and the variable socio-economic status was positively and significantly related with preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination at 5% level of significance (Table 1).

Sheep farmers with high socio-economic status, extension contact, good availability & accessibility of vaccines and veterinary services coupled with farmers’ affordability to vaccines and veterinary services could make the farmers towards suitable decision making which lead to more preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination. This might be due to the awareness of importance of health care practices and also lessons learned out of the experiences in farming for several years. Further, increased focus and attention from government on sheep farmers through conduct of health camps and mass vaccination programmes in view of the rising demand for quality livestock products might also be contributing factors. If the farmers can afford and willing to pay even for costly vaccines and veterinary services, it reflects their preparedness i.e. risk management behaviour and aware of losses due to disease outbreaks. It is in accordance with the findings of Fasina et al. (2009) who also reported that poultry farmers with good risk management behaviour could go for high investments and vaccinated poultry.

Table 1: Correlation coefficient between farmers profile and preparedness towards sheep health care with specific reference to vaccination

S. No. Profile Characteristics Correlation Coefficient (r)
Category of Sheep Farmers
Small (n=157) Medium (n=15) Large (n=08) Overall (n=180)
1 Age 0.066 NS -0.244 NS 0.680 NS 0.081 NS
2 Gender -0.074 NS a a -0.079 NS
3 Socio-Economic status 0.204 * 0.141 NS 0.781* 0.191*
4 Purpose of rearing sheep 0.103 NS 0.647** 0.613 NS 0.150*
5 Social participation 0.150 NS 0.165 NS 0.803* 0.207**
6 Extension contact 0.486** 0.387 NS 0.436 NS 0.469**
7 Training received -0.055 NS 0.642** 0.803* 0.044 NS
8 Availability and accessibility 0.488** -0.045 NS 0.568 NS 0.480**
9 Affordability 0.492** 0.511 NS 0.776* 0.510**
10 Decision making ability 0.204** 0.099 NS 0.155 NS 0.203**

*Correlation significant at 5% level of probability; **Correlation significant at 1% level of probability; NS = Non Significant; a = cannot be computed because this variable is having similar values

Medium Category of Sheep Farmers

Purpose of rearing sheep, training received were positively and significantly related with preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination at 1% level of significance (Table 1).

The medium sheep farmers might be rearing sheep as the main livelihood enterprise and might be getting income throughout the year unlike in agriculture in which income is seasonal.  In order to protect the sheep from disease outbreaks and to optimise the production, they might be very cautious and focused on preventive health care practices. Also to run the farming under profit they should have more preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination and hence the significant and positive association. Higher the number of trainings received by the sheep farmers regarding sheep farming, higher will be their preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination. Sheep farmers who were trained could realise the importance of preparedness and manage their enterprise in a better way. This might be the reason for the above trend.

Large Category of Sheep Farmers

Socio-economic status, social participation, training received and affordability of vaccines and veterinary services were positively and significantly related with preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination at 5% level of significance (Table 1). Sheep farmers with more socio-economic status, social participation, trainings received and with more affordability will enable the sheep farmers to have more information and enrich them with the knowledge and importance of preparedness towards sheep health care practices with specific reference to vaccination.

Overall Category of Sheep Farmers

Age with Preparedness

Age was found to be non-significantly related with sheep farmers preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination. This indicates that irrespective of age of sheep farmers, preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination exits. These findings are in line with the findings of Kilic and Bozkurt (2013) and Saha et al. (2010).

Gender with Preparedness

Gender was found to be non-significantly related with sheep farmers preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination. This indicates that irrespective of gender of sheep farmers, preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination exits.

Socio-Economic Status with Preparedness

The association between socio-economic status and preparedness of sheep farmers towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination was found to be significant and positive at 5% level of significance. It is known fact that sheep farmers with more socio-economic status naturally possess more opinion leadership as others in the farming community might be looking at them for any advice related to sheep farming and hence in order to sustain themselves as opinion leaders and good prestige in the society, they might be with more preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination.

Purpose of Rearing Sheep with Preparedness

A positive and significant relationship was noticed between purpose of rearing sheep and sheep farmers preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination at 5% level of significance. Purpose of rearing sheep being the main livelihood generating activity for all the farmers. The sheep farmers could find purpose of rearing sheep as livelihood enterprise and might be getting income throughout the year unlike in agriculture where income is seasonal. So, they have more preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination.

Social Participation with Preparedness

Social participation was found to be positively correlated with sheep farmers preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination at 1% level of significance.  This inferred that farmers with high level of social participation enable to have more contact with different sources of information regarding sheep farming. This might be the reason for higher preparedness. These findings are in line with the findings of Devaki and Senthilkumar (2013).

Extension Contact with Preparedness

Extension contact exhibited positive and significant relationship with sheep farmers preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination at 1% level of significance.  Hence, it indicated that higher the level of extension contacts of sheep farmers with the informal and formal sources available, higher will be their preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination. These findings are in line with the findings of Devaki and Senthilkumar (2013). The extension agency contact would have acted as a catalyst for seeking more information. Farmers in favour of vaccination had greater influence from their vet, more dependent upon veterinary advice and were more likely to have received veterinary advice was reported by Defra (2011).

Training Received with Preparedness

Training received by sheep framers was non-significantly related with sheep farmers preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination. Since among all the sheep farmers, very few only could receive training in sheep farming and hence no significant association found in the study. However, as training develops the farmer with the base of theoretical and skills related recommended practices which in turn predisposes towards better preparedness. State Department of Animal Husbandry (SDAH), Primary Sheep Breeders Cooperative Societies (PSBCS), Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) and other sheep development agencies should focus on this group to render training programmes.

Availability & Accessibility of Vaccines and Veterinary Services with Preparedness

There was positive and significant relationship at 1% level of significance between availability & accessibility of vaccines and veterinary services and sheep farmers preparedness. This implies that higher the availability & accessibility of vaccines and veterinary services to sheep farmers, higher will be their preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination. The State Department of Animal Husbandry might be rendering vaccination services regularly and hence good accessibility. Good extension contacts of sheep farmers were also might be one reason for the farmers to be aware about vaccination and veterinary services availability and accessibility.

Affordability of Vaccines and Veterinary Services with Preparedness

Affordability of vaccines and veterinary services exhibited positive and significant relationship with sheep farmers preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination at 1% level of significance.  Hence, it indicated that higher the affordability of vaccines and veterinary services to sheep farmers; higher will be their preparedness. This indicates that sheep farmers willing to pay was for improving the quality of vaccines and veterinary services.  These findings are similar with the findings of Kathiravan et al. (2012) and Ahuja and Sen (2006) in livestock farmers.

Decision-Making Ability with Preparedness

There was positive and significant relationship at 1% level of significance between decision-making ability and sheep farmers preparedness. Hence, it inferred that higher the level of decision-making ability of sheep farmers, higher will be their preparedness towards health care practices with specific reference to vaccination. If the farmer could able to take decisions appropriately in right time towards healthcare practices of sheep with specific reference to vaccination, it indicates their preparedness and vice versa. The healthcare campaigns and training programmes will improve the farmers’ ability to make decisions. So the SDAH and other concerned agencies should focus on these aspects for improved sheep farming and production.

Conclusion

Farmers profile characteristics viz. socio-economic status and purpose of rearing sheep exhibited positive and significant relationship at five per cent level of significance with preparedness of sheep farmers. Whereas, social participation, extension contact, availability and accessibility of vaccines and veterinary services, affordability of vaccines and veterinary services, decision-making ability have positive significant relationship at one per cent level of significance with preparedness of sheep farmers. This indicated that relationship between farmers profile characteristics and preparedness will be improved in order to enable the sheep farmers to have more information and enrich them with the knowledge and importance of preparedness towards sheep health care practices with specific reference to vaccination. Hence, effective strategies can be developed by extension agencies to improve shepherds preparedness leading to higher productivity.

References

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