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Information Needs of Tribal Pig Farmers of Aizawl District of Mizoram

Debbie Lalngaihawmi Saidur Rahman
Vol 7(3), 63-69
DOI- http://dx.doi.org/10.5455/ijlr.20170221044208

The present study was undertaken to know the information needs of the tribal piggery farmers of Aizawl district of Mizoram, covering two developmental blocks, 10 villages and a total of 100 respondents. Data were collected through personal interview. The results obtained from the study indicated that respondents ranked diseases and its symptoms as the most important information needs. The correlation analysis showed that three socio-economic variables, namely, operational land holding, adoption level of the farmers and number of training, were found to have a positive and significant association with information needs while the farming experience was significantly and negatively correlated with information needs of the pig farmers. Multiple regression analysis showed that two independent variables, farming experience and operational land holding, were found to be significant at 0.01 level of probability while attitude towards information was found to be significant at 0.05 level of probability. Multiple regression analysis yielded a co-efficient of multiple regression (R) of 0.612 and multiple regression square (R2) of 0.375. The information needs of the farmers should be addresses by organizing suitable need based programme on piggery farming.


Keywords : Farmers Information Needs Pig Mizoram

Introduction

Information is an indispensable factor in the practice of farming and it is the basis of extension service delivery (Okwoche et al., 2012). In today’s agricultural industry, survival often depends on having an edge on information related to the market, efficient allocation of available resources and use of new or innovative farming practices (Fedale, 1987). Knowledge about the information needs and information seeking behaviour of small-scale farmers is crucial to effectively satisfy their felt information needs and develop demand led extension and advisory services (Garforth, 2001). Understanding farmers’ information needs helps in designing appropriate policies, programs, and organizational innovations. Providing information on suitable breeds, weather trends, best practice in farming, disease prevention and management, timely access to market information helps farmers to make correct decisions about their farming. The growth of the livestock sector is necessitated by population growth, changing climate and technology needs (Leonard, 1990). Information for livestock farmers is hence a crucial tool in the fight against poverty and the battle against food insecurity. In the North-East Region of India, animal husbandry and agriculture are the main sources of income for the majority of the population. Among the meat-producing animals, pig occupies a unique position as pig keeping is socio-culturally intermingled with the livelihood of tribal people of the region (Das and Bujarbaruah, 2005). Mizoram, a North-Eastern State of India, is a mountainous region and it lies within the tropics. Pig rearing is considered to be the most encouraging and appropriate livestock enterprise to narrow down the gap between the availability and requirement of animal meat in the state. Pigs are reared by each and every family as a backyard venture in Mizoram.

According to 2012 livestock census, there was 2, 45,238 pigs in Mizoram which was 69.33 percent of total livestock and contributing 2.38 per cent to the nation’s pig population. The human population census of 2011 shows that the total occupied households in Mizoram was 2, 57,581. It can be assumed that there was one pig for almost every household in the state. Therefore, piggery plays a crucial role in the agricultural economy of the state than other species of livestock. The total production of meat from Cattle, Buffaloes, Mithun, Goats and Pigs during 2013-14 was estimated at 10595.299 tonnes of which pork accounted for 6925.252 tonnes. Out of the total meat production (including broiler meat) pork accounted for the highest quantity with 56.81 per cent (The Economic Survey of Mizoram, 2014-15). For consistent growth in livestock production, it is essential to equip livestock farmers with need-based, accurate, reliable, and timely information. Keeping all the above mentioned areas in view, the present research was undertaken to assess the information needs of the piggery farmers and to predict the socio-economic determinants of the information needs of the tribal piggery farmers of Aizawl district of Mizoram.

Materials and Methods

The sample survey for the research was carried out at purposively selected Aizawl district. The district was selected for the study due to the presence of highest pig population in the state. For the study two blocks, Tlangnuam and Aibawk, were randomly selected. Out of the two development blocks, 10 villages (5 villages from each development block) were randomly selected and from each village, 10 farmers engaged in piggery farming were randomly selected, therefore the total number of respondents for the study became 100, i.e. fifty (50) piggery farmers from each block. An interview schedule was prepared to find out the information needs of the farmersFarmers’ importance of information needs related to pig farming was gauged using a five point Likert scale {(1=not important (NI), 2=less important (LI), 3=neutral (N), 4=somewhat important (SI), 5=very important (VI)}. Ranks are given against the factors based on their mean value. Correlation analysis was done to find out the relationship between the socio-economic variables and information needs and multiple regression analysis was employed to predict the socio-economic determinants of information needs of the pig farmers.

Results and Discussion

Information Needs of the Piggery Farmers

From the Table 1, it is observed that diseases and its symptoms ranks first (I) with 4.76 mean and 0.47 SD value, followed by care of piglets (II) with 4.74 mean and 0.54 SD value and vaccination schedule (III) with 4.68 mean and 0.55 SD value and at the last is housing of animals (XV) with 4.08 mean and 1.29 SD. The farmers found the need of information most essential in diseases and symptoms might be due to the fact that the diseases of pig like Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Classical Swine Fever (CSF) killed numbers of pigs in Mizoram in recent years which caused great economic loss to the farmers. They would like to know how to prevent these diseases and to treat their animals when their animals fell sick. The second most essential need they revealed was how to take care of the piglets, this might be because of high mortality occurred at an early age of the piglets and these piglets were the source of income for the farmers. The price of one piglet was http://www.google.co.in/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRY6KBgxP2S_jwhDtDMDxnsIV00RADvwjBHtq4gYGM4gVnKCOJnO5qocic 5000/- at the time of the study. Thirdly, the farmers wanted to know about the information in vaccination schedule, this might be because of the fact that the farmers would like to know when and how to vaccinate their animals to prevent them from diseases. The least need for information perceived by the farmers was the information on housing of animals, During the study it is observed that pigs were reared in stalls with raised floor (platform) constructed with bamboo and wood as these materials were cheap and easily available as there was abundance of these materials in the jungles. Moreover, it was easy to shift the bamboo or wood housing from one place to another place. The reason for raising the floor above ground level was to prevent entering of reptiles, rats and other small wild predators which are abundant in the nearby jungle. Besides these, almost all farmers said that raising the floor above ground level made cleaning more easy and prevented dampening of floor due to rain. These were might be the probable causes that provide satisfaction to the farmers over the housing condition in the piggery farms. Similar result was observed by Saravanan et al., 2009, in Arunachal Pradesh where he carried out the study on information pattern and information need of the tribal farmers and found that most of the farmers needed information on various topics such as pest management, disease management etc.

Table 1: Information needs of piggery farmers in pig farming

S. No. Information Level of sense of need Total Score Rank Mean SD
VI SI N LI NI
1 Housing of animals 52 32 1 6 9 412 XV 4.12 1.29
2 Different type of breeds 42 51 2 4 1 429 XIV 4.29 0.78
3 Artificial Insemination, Breeding of female, Heat detection 58 21 21 437 XII 4.37 0.81
4 Care of pregnant animals 72 23 15 467 V 4.67 0.68
5 Care of piglets 79 16 5 474 II 4.74 0.54
6 Care during furrowing 69 26 5 464 VI 4.64 0.58
7 Feeding of adults (boar & sow) 47 43 10 437 XI 4.37 0.65
8 Feeding of piglets 52 39 9 443 X 4.43 0.65
9 Diseases and its symptoms 79 20 1 478 I 4.78 0.47
10 Vaccination Schedule 70 28 1 1 467 III 4.67 0.55
11 Bio-security measure 58 37 4 1 451 IX 4.51 0.67
12 Source of vaccine, semen, straw, medicine, loans & feeds 63 30 6 1 455 VII 4.55 0.64
13 Insurance on animals 69 30 1 468 IV 4.68 0.61
14 Government scheme 56 43 1 455 VIII 4.55 0.56
15 Marketing and price 36 63 1 435 XIII 4.35 0.54

Prediction of Socio-Economic Determinants of Information Needs of the Pig Farmers

a) Relationship of Independent Variables with Information Needs of the Pig Farmers

The results of correlation analysis of 10 independent socio-economic variables (age, education status of the farmers, farming experience, total operational land holding, herd size, annual income, attitudes towards information seeking, adoption level of the farmers, knowledge level of the farmers, and number of training received) with the information needs of the piggery farmers are depicted in Table 2. It could be observed from the Table that out of 10 variables included, three variables, namely, operational land holding, adoption level of the farmers, number of training, were found to have a positive and significant association with information needs. Relationship between the farming experience and pig farmers’ information needs was significantly and negatively correlated. The finding is in conformity with the findings of Singh et al., 2016, Kavithaa et al., 2014, Patel et al., 2014, Badodiya and Choudhary(2011), Onuekwusi and Atasie (2011) and Zhao and Zhang (2009). The operational land holding, adoption level and number of trainings undergone were positively related to information needs of piggery farmers. In other words, more the operational land a farmer owned, higher were his/her information needs. Similarly, the farmers having more adoption level and trainings needed more information because of their enhanced information usage spheres. On the other hand, experience in piggery farming had negative and significant relationship with their information needs revealing that as the experience of piggery farmers’ advances, their need for information falls. This is plausible in the sense that the higher the farming experience, the more the farmer would have gained more knowledge and technological ideas on how to tackle farm production problems and the higher would be his output and in income (Nwaru, 2004). However, education qualification, income, knowledge level, herd size had a non-significant relationship with information needs of piggery farmers.

Table 2: Relationship of independent variables with information needs of the piggery farmers

S. No. Variables Correlation Coefficient

“r”

1 Age -0.134
2 Education 0.105
3 Experience -0.452**
4 Operational Land Holding 0.232*
5 Herd size 0.091
6 Annual income -0.026
7 Attitudes towards information seeking 0.096
8 Adoption level of the farmers 0.201*
9 Knowledge level of the farmers 0.182
10 Number of Training 0.307**

**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2 tailed); * Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2 tailed)

b. Determination of Influencing Socio-Economic Factors of Information Needs of the Piggery Farmers

The result shows that the use of 14 personal and socio-economic variables (age, sex, education status of the farmers, occupation status, farming experience, total operational land holding, herd size, annual income, attitudes towards information seeking, community relation, adoption level of the farmers, knowledge level of the farmers, number of training received and financial help/loan received) to predict farmers’ information needs on the piggery farming yielded a co-efficient of multiple regression (R) of 0.612 and multiple regression square (R2) of 0.375. The results also showed that analysis of variance of the multiple regression data yielded an F-ratio of 3.640 (significant at the 0.01 level). Table 3 indicates that two independent variables, namely, farming experience, and land holding, were found to be significant at 0.01 level of probability while attitude towards information was found to be significant at 0.05 level of probability. The findings of the present study revealed that the 14 socio-personal and economic variables, when taken together are effective in predicting farmers’ information need on piggery farming. The observed F ratio is significant at the 0.01 level–an indication that the effectiveness of a combination of the independent variables in predicting farmers’ information need could not have occurred by chance. The magnitude of the relationship between farmers’ need of information and a combination of the independent variables is reflected in the values of co-efficient of multiple correlation (R=0.612) and multiple correlation (R2=0.375). It may, therefore, be said that about 37.50 per cent of the total variability in farmers’ need of information is accounted for by a linear combination of the 14 personal and socio-economic variables. With regards to the extent to which each of the 14 independent variables contributed to the prediction, the value of the T-ratio associated with respective variables indicate that farming experience (X5) contributed significantly but negatively to the farmers’ need of information. Whereas total operational lands holding (X6) and attitudes towards information seeking (X9) were contributing positively to the farmers’ information need.

Table 3: Determination of influencing socio-economic factors of information needs of the piggery farmers

Variable No. Variable Name Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients “t” value
B Std. Error Beta
(Constant) 51.670 12.005 4.304
X1 Age .059 .062 .107 .956
X2 Sex 1.442 2.062 .081 .699
X3 Education status of the farmers .377 .765 .053 .493
X4 Occupation status -1.299 1.102 -.113 -1.179
X5 Farming experience -.421 .102 -.444 -4.135**
X6 Total operational land holding 3.496 1.213 .392 2.883**
X7 Herd size -.279 .147 -.272 -1.899
X8 Annual income -4.401E-006 .000 -.044 -.408
X9 Attitudes towards information seeking .629 .297 .199 2.118*
X10 Community relation 1.310 .935 .133 1.400
X11 Adoption level of the farmers .092 .093 .094 .985
X12 Knowledge level of the farmers .033 .070 .048 .476
X13 No. of Training received 2.896 1.851 .170 1.565
X14 Financial help/loan received 4.961 2.886 .152 1.719
Multiple R 0.612
R2 0.375
SE 5.48132
F value 3.640**
Frequency 100

Conclusion

The analysis of information needs revealed that the pig farmers needed information on diseases and its symptoms, care of piglets, vaccination schedule etc. Suitable need based programme on piggery farming should be planned. Mobile based livestock advisory system should be initiated as all the farmers were possessing mobile phones. More attention will have to be given to educate farmers to become more competent and confident in using ICTs to solve specific problems government should improve access to public extension services, by increasing the number of extension officers, and providing adequate training programmes to update their skills in the farming activities. Regular studies on information needs of the farmers should be conducted in order to assess the communities’ needs design appropriate extension strategies.

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