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Effectiveness of Distance Education Programme on Dairy Farming

T. Senthilkumar and N. K. Sudeep Kumar
Vol 7(6), 109-117
DOI- http://dx.doi.org/10.5455/ijlr.20170417034641

A study was conducted to analyze the economic benefits and effectiveness of distance education course on dairy farming among the learners. A total of 100 learners were selected randomly as respondents from the total of 221 learners who have completed the course during 2000-2005. The data were collected from the respondents through personal interviews and analyzed. All the respondents who underwent dairy farming course had increased their farm size, achieved body weight gain in their adult animals and young ones, reduced disease incidence and mortality and improved sale of animals and positive change in the net value of stock, which all implied that the knowledge and skills gained through the course helped the farmers to get enhanced farm benefits.


Keywords : Distance Education Dairy Farming Learners Benefits Effectiveness

Introduction

Realizing the advantages of distance education for livestock farmers such as learning at learners’ doorstep, suitability to transfer knowledge and skill even to the underprivileged, and ability to cover larger clientele, the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) started offering correspondence courses on livestock farming to livestock and poultry farmers since 1996. With the beneficiaries of these courses largely being livestock farmers and unemployed rural youth, the real impact of these courses on the learners has not been largely documented so far. Hence, this study was conducted to assess the impact and effectiveness of the distance education course offered by TANUVAS on dairy farming of three months duration on the learners, in terms of benefits attained by the learners.

Materials and Methods

The participants who underwent distance education courses on dairy farming conducted by TANUVAS during the period from 2000- 2005 were considered as the respondents for the study. A total of 221 participants completed the distance course on dairy farming during the above period, from which 100 learners were selected randomly as respondents, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Distribution of respondents in dairy farming course

Year No. Completed No. Selected for the Study
2000-2001 47 30
2001-2002 48 16
2002-2003 64 25
2003-2004 28 13
2004-2005 34 16
Total 221 100

Data and Analysis

Interview method was followed for data collection. An interview schedule incorporating items pertaining to objective of the study was constructed, pre-tested and finalized for data collection. The data were collected during the period 2007-09 and were coded, tabulated and necessary analytical techniques were used.

Assessment of Economic Benefits Accrued by Learners

The production performances were measured by the change in farm size, productivity in terms of daily average milk yield and body weight gain at pre-enrolment and post-certification stages. The difference if any was ascertained and the percentage gain worked out. The production level of the farmers was measured both at pre and post-certification stages. The level of income increase through the sale of milk, animals, dung and products, net change in value of stock, number of inseminations per conception, percentage of mortality, number of animals infected and number of animals insured were ascertained at pre-enrolment and post-certification stages. The actual difference was obtained and worked out in monetary value, along with percentage gain.

Results and Discussion

Socio-economic Status of the Respondents of Distance Education Course on Dairy Farming

The profile of the respondents of dairy farming correspondence course is presented in Table 1. It is evident from Table 2 that an overwhelming majority (96 per cent) of the respondents was young to middle aged group and nearly one-half (49 per cent) had diploma and colligate level of education. Majority (88 per cent) had medium to high level of experience with small (upto 6.07 cattle) to medium (6.07 to 9.10 cattle) herd size.

Table 2: Profile of the respondents

S. No. Characteristics Percentage
1 Age
Young 52
Middle 44
Old 4
2 Education
High school 13
Higher secondary 32
Diploma 22
Under-graduate 27
Post-graduate 6
3 Herd size
Small (upto 6.07 cattle) 49
Medium (6.07 to 9.10 cattle) 41
Large (above 9.10 cattle) 10
(a) Willingness to increase herd size
Yes 100
No 0
4 Experience in dairying
Low (upto 5 years) 12
Medium (5 -15 years) 78
High (16 years and above) 10
5 Annual income
Low (< Rs.1,54,131) 62
Medium (Rs.1,54,131-1,77,327) 12
High (> Rs.1,77,327) 26
6 Investment
Low (<Rs.6,78,774) 61
Medium ( Rs.6,78,775 – 9,15,809) 20
High (> Rs.9,15,810) 19
7 Information seeking behaviour
Low 49
Medium 10
High 41
8 Mass media exposure
Low 41
Medium 19
High 40
9 Economic motivation
Low 39
Medium 6
High 55
10 Attitude towards distance education
Low 27
Medium 28
High 45
11 Innovativeness
Low 36
Medium 33
High 31
12 Decision making behaviour
Low 32
Medium 23
High 45
13 Level of aspiration
Low 54
Medium 8
High 38
14 Achievement motivation
Low 31
Medium 7
High 62
15 Extent of participation in training
No training 15
One training 53
Two trainings 24
Three trainings 7
Four trainings and above 1
16 Usefulness of the programme
Upto 50% 0
51 to 60 % 3
61 to 70 % 7
71 to 80% 69
Above 80 % 21

All the respondents were willing to increase their herd size. Majority of the respondents earned a low annual income (62 per cent) and made investment at low level (61 per cent) and over one-half (51 per cent) had medium to high level of information seeking behaviour and mass media exposure (59 per cent). Most (61 per cent) of the respondents had medium to high level of economic motivation. Nearly three-fourths (73 per cent) had medium to high level of attitude towards distance education and majority (64 per cent) of the respondents had medium to high level of innovativeness while over two-thirds (68 per cent) had medium to high level of decision making behaviour. Nearly one-half (46 per cent) had medium to high level of aspiration and two-thirds (69 per cent) of the respondents had medium to high level of achievement motivation. Majority (85 per cent) had attended one or more trainings and the rest did not attend training prior to enrolment in this course. An overwhelming majority (90 per cent) of the respondents had perceived the usefulness of the programme to an extent of over 70 per cent.

Economic Benefits through Increased Production in Dairying

The economic benefits obtained through increased production in terms of increase in farm size and milk yield of the respondents of dairy farming course are presented in Table 3 and discussed below.

Table 3: Economic benefits through increased production among respondents of dairy farming course

Variables / Type of Farmer Pre Enrolment Post Certification Gain
Average Farm Size (in cattle units)
Small (<6.07) 2.750 4.808 2.06(74.91)
Medium (6.07-9.10) 5.692 9.077 3.38(59.38)
Large (> 9.10) 7.540 13.200 5.66(75.07)
Daily Average Milk Yield (in litres)
Small farmers 2.471 4.106 1.64(66.17)
Medium farmers 3.000 4.692 1.69(56.40)
Large farmers 3.043 4.514 1.47(48.34)

Figures in parentheses indicate percentage gain

It is evident from the Table 3 that the respondents who maintained small herd size (less than 6.07 cattle units) had increased their cattle units by 2.06. Whereas medium farmers (between 6.07 to 9.10 cattle units) had increased farm size by 3.38 cattle and large farmers (more than 9.10 cattle units) had increased by 5.66 cattle. The percentage gain in flock size ranged between 59.38 and 75.07. It could be observed from the above table, that the respondents who belonged to small farmer category gained an average milk yield of 1.64 litres of milk on a daily basis whereas medium farmers gained a milk yield of 1.69 litres per day and large farmers had gained a daily milk yield by 1.47 litres, with percentage gain ranging between 48.34 and 66.17.

The study revealed that the knowledge and skill learnt through the course was reflected by the increase in farm size and daily average milk yield among all categories of the farmers. This showed that the learners were practicing what they learnt in their real life situations which provided them opportunities for additional income and sustainable farming.

Economic Benefits Accrued Through Annual Net Income of the Households of Respondents of Dairy Farming Course

The annual net income of the respondents households were analyzed through sale of milk, dung, animals, net change in value of available stock, number of inseminations per conception, mortality percentage, number of animals infected with diseases and number of animals insured. The details of annual net income of the respondents of dairy farming course through the above parameters are presented in the Table 4 and discussed below.

Table 4: Economic benefits through net income per annum per household of respondents of dairy farming course

S. No. Variables / Type of farmer Pre enrolment Post certification Gain
1 Average number of inseminations / conception
Small 2.5 2.0 0.5 (20.00)
Medium 2.4 1.8 0.6 (25.00)
Large 2.6 1.7 0.9 (34.62)
2 Average number of animals infected with diseases
Small 15 12 3 (20.00)
Medium 7 5 2 (28.57)
Large 18 9 9 (50.00)
3 Average mortality in percentage
Small 0 0 0
Medium 0.03 0.02 0.01(33.33)
Large 0.03 0.02 0.01(33.33)
4 Average number of animals insured
Small 0 2 2 (200.00)
Medium 0 6 6 (600.00)
Large 0 15 15 (1500.00)
5 Sale of milk (in rupees)
Small 20152.21 44789.71 24637.50(122.26)
Medium 38914.62 67468.85 28554.23(73.38)
Large 48618.00 101647.29 53029.29(109.07)
6 Sale of dung (in rupees)
Small 1144.00 2000.00 856.00(74.83)
Medium 2276.92 3630.77 1353.85(59.46)
Large 3017.14 5280.00 2262.86(75.00)
7 Sale of animals (in rupees)
Small 541.38 1275.86 734.48 (135.67)
Medium 3314.29 4357.14 1042.85(31.47)
Large 2431.03 3620.69 1189.66(48.94)
8 Net change in value of available stock (in rupees)
Small 25740.00 65840.00 40100.00(155.79)
Medium 51230.77 122307.69 71076.92(138.74)
Large 67885.71 179842.86 111957.14(164.92)

Figures in parentheses indicate percentage gain

The net income per annum through number of inseminations / conception among the small farmer category gained by 0.5 insemination / conception and for medium farmers it gained by 0.6 whereas for large farmers it was 0.9. The results showed that, medium to large category of dairy farmers had 59.62 percentage gain in terms of successful artificial insemination and there by conception than the small category of dairy farmers. The annual net income of the respondents through the savings in number of animals infected by diseases was three for small, two for medium and for large farmers it was nine. This showed that, the rate of disease incidence was less in small farmers than the medium and large dairy farmers. Table 4 further revealed that the annual net income through the reduction in mortality percentage was nil for small farmers and 0.01 per cent for medium and large farmer categories. It revealed that, the average mortality percentage among all the category of farmers was almost nil, which showed a remarkable percentage of gain among the respondents of the study. The net income per annum of the respondents of dairy farming course through the number of animals insured was found to be two for small farmers, six for medium farmers and 15 for large farmers. All these predisposing factors mentioned above towards increased production and productivity exhibited substantial percentage gain.

It could be observed from the table that the respondents of small farmer category gained an additional income of Rs.24,637.50 per annum whereas medium farmers had gained Rs.28,554.23 per annum and large farmers gained upto Rs.53,029.29 through sale of milk. The percentage gain in these categories ranged between 73.38(medium farmer) and122.26 (small farmer). The increase in net income per household per annum through sale of dung was found to be Rs.856 for small farmers, Rs.1, 353.85 for medium farmers and Rs.2, 262.86 for large farmers, with a percentage gain ranging between 59.46 and 75.00. It was found that through sale of animals the incremental net income per household per annum for small farmers was Rs.734.48 (135.67 percentage gain), Rs.1042.85 for medium farmers (31.47 percentage gain) and for large farmers it was Rs.1189.66. Further, the net income per annum through net change in the value of available stock in case of small farmers increased by Rs.40,100 (155.79 percentage gain) and in case of medium farmers it was Rs.71,076.92 (138.74 percentage gain) whereas for large farmers it was Rs.1,11,957.14 (164.92 percentage gain).

It is evident from the Table 3 that there was a remarkable economic gain noticed after certification by the respondents of dairy farming courses through the sale of milk, dung, animals and by the net changes in the value of available stock followed by considerable gain recorded through reduced number of inseminations / increased conception, reduced percentage of mortality of animals infected with diseases and increased insurance of animals, both in terms of absolute value and percentage gain. The study revealed that there was gain in the farm productivity through increased production and savings through farming expenditure. This showed that the distance education course maintained the standards and quality which made positive impact among the learners. Also the learners were able to translate what they learnt into practice, resulting in economic gains.

Effectiveness of Distance Education Programme in Terms of Economic Benefits Obtained by the Respondents of Dairy Farming Course

The data collected for the analysis of economic benefits were further subjected to statistical analysis to find out the effectiveness of distance education programmes with regard to economic benefits. Paired‘t’ test was applied to find out whether there was any significant gain in production and income from pre-enrolment to post-certification stage due to the knowledge and skill gained and applied. The results of‘t’ test with respect to the respondents of dairy farming course according to the herd size category are given in Table 5 and discussed in this section.

Table 5: Effectiveness of distance education programme in terms of economic benefits obtained by the respondents of dairy farming course

S. No. Variables Mean Gain ‘t’ Value
Small

farmers

Medium

farmers

Large

farmers

Small

farmers

Medium

farmers

Large

farmers

1 Farm size (in cattle units) 2.06 3.38 5.66 9.92 ** 12.70 ** 5.22 **
2 Average milk yield (in litres) 1.64 1.69 1.48 9.13 ** 9.68 ** 12.32 **
3 Sale of milk (in Rs.) 24637.50 28554.23 53029.29 11.28 ** 10.82 ** 5.67 **
4 Sale of dung
(in Rs.)
856.00 1353.85 2262.86 9.92 ** 12.70 ** 5.22 **
5 Sale of animals

(in Rs.)

734.48 1042.86 1189.66 8.50 ** 3.63 ** 4.52 **
6 Net change in the value of available stock (in Rs.) 40,100.00 71076.92 111957.14 14.56 ** 14.36 ** 6.87 **

** Significant at 1 per cent level

The above table indicated that there is a highly significant gain in production and income in all categories of farmer’s viz. small, medium and large farmers with respect to farm size, milk yield, sale of milk, dung and animals and net changes in the value of available stock. The remaining parameters viz., number of inseminations / perconception, percentage of mortality, number of animals infected with disease and number of animals insured did not exhibit any statistical significance.

Conclusions

The study revealed that, distance learners made full use of the course applying the knowledge gained in real life situations for economic gain which showed tangible results. Hence, the study exhibited a significant gain in production and productivity among dairy farmers.

References

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