The present study was conducted purposively during November 2018 to March 2019 in Attappadi block of Palakkad district in Kerala as this is one among the largest tribal settlements of Kerala with considerable livestock population. Expost facto research design was adopted for the study. The sample was comprised of 120 tribal livestock farmers as respondents (n=120). The respondents belonged to three different tribal communities viz., Irulas (92.5 %), Mudugas (5.83 %) and Kurumbas (1.67 %).The data showed that majority of the respondents had low herd size unit (<1 unit) of livestock (88.33 %) followed by medium herd unit size (7.50 %) and large (4.17 %) respectively. Data pertaining to Knowledge level revealed that majority of the respondents (56.67 %) had low level of knowledge followed by medium level of knowledge (41.67 %) and only a few of the respondents (1.66 %) had high level of knowledge regarding scientific management including breeding, feeding and health care practices of animal husbandry. The data found that majority of the farmers (93.33 %) had choice of preferences for alternative livestock enterprises. The relationship analysis of socio-economic attributes as determinants with choice of preferences for alternative livestock enterprises revealed that the independent variable, gross annual income of the tribal farmers was found to have positive and significant correlation at 1 per cent level of significance (r=0.252). Economic motivation of farmers had positive and significant (0.181) relationship while experience of the tribal farmers in farming had negative and significant relationship (r= -0.228) at 5 per cent level of significance.
The tribes of Central and Western Ghats are expanded towards the south and considered as the tribes of western Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, western Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Among them the most important tribes include Toda, Kota, Kurumba, Irula, Allar and Bagada. About eight per cent of the Indian population belongs to a category listed as “Scheduled Tribes” deemed under article 342 of the constitution of India. In Kerala, there are 36 tribal communities with a total population 4, 84,839 (Census, 2011). One among the largest and diverse tribal concentrated districts of Kerala, Palakkad has 10.1 per cent of the total tribal population of the state. Attappadi is the largest tribal settlement area of Palakkad district with three tribes viz., Irulas (84 %), Mudugas (10 %) and Kurumbas (6 %) who are traditionally engaged in agricultural activities. Crop farming and livestock keeping are the major source for livelihood and an essential part of the culture of the tribes of Attappadi. In general, the crop enterprise could not help the tribal community to increase their income and employment because of poor productivity, low availability of per capita arable land and lack of other income generating avenues (Gour et al., 2015). Hence, there is heavy dependence of tribal households on animal husbandry activities (Meganathan et al., 2010). The tribal livestock farmers are not able to exploit the full potential of their livestock enterprises and to explore the vantages of other livestock enterprises. Hence, it is a time demanding challenge to probe into their choices of preferences for alternative livestock enterprises to design programmes and activities by development agencies. Considering the above facts, the present study was undertaken with the following objectives-
Materials and Methods
The present study was conducted purposively during November 2018 to March 2019 in Attappadi block of Palakkad district in Kerala as this is one among the largest tribal settlements with considerable livestock population. Attappadi block comprised of three panchayats, Agali, Pudur and Sholayoor. A total of 40 tribal livestock farmers from each of the three panchayats, thus a total of 120 tribal livestock farmers were selected randomly as respondents for the study. Expost facto research design was employed. Personal interviews by pretested interview schedule and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) approach was used to serve the purpose of data collection. The following variables namely age, sex, community, education, family size, family type, land holding, occupation, annual gross income, herd size, experience in livestock farming, economic motivation and risk orientation were studied.
Results and Discussion
Socio-Economic Profile of the Tribal Livestock Farmers
According to their age the tribal livestock farmers were categorized into three groups, viz., young, middle and elders. The data presented in Table 1 reveal that majority of the tribal livestock farmers (76.66 %) belonged to elder age group, while 16.67 per cent of the respondents were from middle age group and 6.67 per cent were young. This might be due to the lack of interest among youth in crop farming and livestock rearing. Henceforth, while planning programmes in livestock sector more attention should be given to attract vibrant and enthusiastic young age groups to livestock farming like Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) initiated programme – “Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture” (ARYA) project. Regarding community, 92.5 per cent respondents belonged to Irula tribes, whereas, only 5.83 per cent and 1.67 per cent belonged to Muduga and Kurumba tribes respectively. Majority of the respondents were female (64.17 %) and 35.83 per cent were male. It could be observed that majority of the tribal livestock farmers (67.50%) were illiterate, followed by 24.17 per cent had ability to read and write, 3.33 per cent were educated up to primary and only 1.67 per cent respondents were educated up to secondary school level and none of the respondents were graduate and above level. Similar findings were reported by Gour et al. (2015). Thus, in order to popularize the scientific animal husbandry practices among tribal farmers, it is essential to develop extension programmes and promote use of teaching aids that are easily understood by the farmers and that tends to motivate the farmers to change and adopt.
Further, all the respondents (100%) were in joint family system. A perusal of Table 1 points out that 38.33 per cent of respondents were marginal farmers, the majority of the respondents (44.17%) were landless while, 4.17 per cent of the respondents had land on lease, where 10.83 per cent were small scale farmers and 2.5 per cent were large scale farmers. The average land holding of tribal livestock farmers is less due to fragmentation of land, forest buffer zone issues and population explosion. Majority of the respondents had high experience in livestock farming (60.83%), followed by medium (25.84%) and low (13.33%). This evidences that the tribal farmers have rich experience in livestock farming.
Table 1: Socioeconomic profile of the tribal livestock farmers (n = 120)
|Age||Young (< 36 years)||8||6.67|
|Middle (36 – 45 years)||20||16.67|
|Elder (> 45 years)||92||76.66|
|Can read and write||29||24.17|
|Land holding||Landless (No land)||53||44.17|
|Marginal (Upto 2.5 acres)||46||38.33|
|Small (2.5 to 5 acres)||13||10.83|
|Large (> 5 acres)||3||2.5|
|Experience in livestock farming(years)||Low (5 – 15 years)||16||13.33|
|Medium (15 – 20 years)||31||25.84|
|High (> 20 years)||73||60.83|
|Annual income||Low (Rs. 12000 – 30000)||20||16.67|
|Medium (Rs.30000 – 40000)||58||48.33|
|High (Rs. 40000 – 1,25000)||42||35|
|Herd Size||Low (< 6 Livestock Units)||106||88.33|
|Medium (6 – 10 LU)||9||7.5|
|Large (> 10 LU)||5||4.17|
|Economic Motivation||Low (<12)||46||38.33|
|Medium (12 – 14)||46||38.33|
|High (> 14)||28||23.34|
|Risk orientation||Low (< 8.67)||72||60|
|Medium (8.67 – 11.34)||42||35|
|High (> 11.34)||6||5|
The main occupation of tribal livestock farmers was daily wages job (87.50%) however almost all the tribal households kept livestock as subsidiary occupation, which corresponded to the finding of Rao (2013). Both crop farming and animal husbandry were the primary livelihood source to 6.66 per cent of the respondents, whereas, 0.84 per cent respondents earned through agricultural labour. Regarding herd size, majority of the respondents (88.33%) had small herd size followed by 7.50 per cent and 4.17 per cent had medium and large herd size respectively (Ponnusamy et al., 2017). Surprisingly, none of the respondents were involved in sheep and buffalo rearing. Hence, there is a scope to popularize these enterprises among tribal farmers by overcoming the existing constraints.
The study shows that all the respondents kept some livestock and majority of them had a small herd size which is in consonance, with the findings of Prasad et al. (2019). Regarding annual income, majority of the respondents (48.34 %) were earning between Rs. 30000-40000 followed by 35 per cent had an income between Rs. 45000-75000, while 16.67 per cent had an income of less than Rs. 28000 per annum as they rely on temporary jobs. Majority of the respondents had medium level of economic motivation (38.33 %) and low risk orientation (60 %).
Table 2: Distribution of respondents according to overall knowledge level in scientific animal husbandry practices (n = 120)
|Variable||Category||No. (f)||Per cent (%)|
|Overall knowledge level||Low||68||56.67|
Table 2 shows that 56.67 per cent and 41.67 per cent of tribal livestock farmers possessed low and medium level of knowledge in general management, breeding, feeding and health care practices of animal husbandry respectively. These findings are in consonance with the findings of Ponnusamy et al. (2009), Khandi et al. (2010) and Shekhawat et al. (2013). A mere proportion of the respondents (1.66%) had high level of knowledge in scientific animal husbandry practices. Regarding knowledge level of tribal farmers in scientific animal husbandry practices, which is a pre-requisite for the proper utilization of innovation by the farmers that need to be supported by developmental agencies through training programmes and extension activities.
Choice of Preferences for Alternative Livestock Enterprises
‘Preferences’ in this study refers to the objectives and motivations of the farmers in choosing different enterprises over the existing one. As the Table 3 reveals, that majority of the respondents (93.34 %) had preference to take up an alternative livestock enterprise over the existing one comprising 40 per cent of the respondents preferring poultry enterprise as their alternative choice, 34 per cent for dairy and 26 per cent on goat enterprises. But none of the respondents preferred swine farming as a choice which may be attributed to social limitations. Preferences for choosing alternative livestock enterprises by tribal farmers could be attributed to reduced returns, lack of easiness in management and marketing, unavailability of land, water and fodder, social limitations and poor financial support from institutions. Hence, it is essential to understand the choice of preferences of tribal farmers and the determinants which make them to choose those livestock enterprises should be given due consideration before drafting any developmental programmes.
Table 3: Distribution of respondents according to choice of preferences for alternative livestock enterprises (n=120)
|Variable||Choice||Dairy Enterprises||Goat Enterprises||Poultry Enterprises||Total No. (f)||Per cent (%)|
|Choice of preferences for alternative livestock enterprises||No. (f)||Per cent (%)||No. (f)||Per cent (%)||No. (f)||Per cent (%)|
Identification of Determinants of Choice of Preferences for Alternative Livestock Enterprises by Correlation Between Antecedent Characteristics and Choice of Preferences for Alternative Livestock Enterprises of Tribal Farmers
The relationship analysis given in Table 4 revealed that the independent variable annual gross income of the tribals was found to have positive and significant correlation (0.252) at 1 % level of significance. This might be due to that once the farmer earns more income, his access and decision to go for alternative choices increases proportionately. Economic motivation of farmers had positive and significant relationship (0.181) while farming experience of the tribal farmers had negative and significant correlation (r = -0.228) at 5 % level of significance. This can be explained by the concept that when the economic motivation increases, farmers tend to bear risks and opt for other choices of enterprises, and in contrary experience in farming increases, farmers become acclimatized with the existing enterprise and resist changes which corresponded to the findings of Bhattacharjee et al. (2016).
Table 4: Identification of determinants of choice of preferences for alternative livestock enterprises
|Independent Variables||Correlation coefficient|
|Farm Experience (X3)||-0.228*|
|Land Holding (X4)||0.036|
|Annual gross income(X6)||0.252**|
|Herd size (X7)||0.051|
|Economic motivation (X8)||0.181*|
|Risk orientation (X9)||-0.024|
Information about choice of preferences in alternative livestock enterprises and their determinants would help to formulate employment-oriented farmer friendly programmes for tribals. Tribal livestock farmers could be easily motivated if the alternative livestock enterprise if it suits their immediate needs. The preference of tribal farmers towards poultry enterprises need to be encouraged by establishing Tribal poultry Hubs and Commodity Interest Groups, that facilitates better market for tribal produce which are supported by STDCC, TRIFED, MoTA. Hence, exposure to appropriate information regarding their preference in livestock enterprises will help the planners and extension agencies to manifest the most compatible plan for them.