The study was carried out to analyze personal, socio-economic, and communication variables of the cotton farmers to assess perception and adoption of recommended cotton cultivation practices. Data were collected from randomly selected 125 respondents in five villages in Yamethin Township. Mean and standard deviation were used to categorize their socio-economic characteristics. Twenty statements were used to assess farmers’ perceptions and adoption of recommended cultivation practices. These statements were based on the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture. Farmers’ perceptions were collected by using the five-point likert scale on five attributes of perception; Relative advantage, Compatibility, Complexity, Trialability and Observability. Farmers’ perception scores were analyzed by cluster analysis and farmers’ adoption of recommended cotton cultivation practices were collected by using dichotomous response formats. Then, correlation analysis was carried out between the socio-economic characteristics and their adoption on recommended cotton cultivation practices. Farmers’ perception clusters and adoption on recommended practices on each cluster were observed. According to the results, 4 clusters were observed. Cluster No. 1 included 9 practices and cluster No. 2 comprises 3 practices. Cluster N0.3 included 7 practices and cluster No.4 included only one practice. Average adoption percentage for these clusters are 95.50%, 92.80%, 50.40% and 34.40%, respectively. Cotton cultivation practices cluster 1 have the highest mean score on relative advantage, the lowest mean score on complexity and the highest farmers’ adoption on 9 recommended cotton cultivation practices. Cluster No. 4 included only one practice and this cluster has the highest mean score on complexity. Thus, adoption on this cluster is only 34.4%. This practice is not to use more than 3 seeds per hole in cotton growing. Based on the result, practices No. 4 (seed rate per hole), No.6 (the combined use of natural and compound fertilizer), No. 7(application of farm-yard manure), No. 8 (application of basal fertilizer), No. 10 (application of 50kg of compound fertilizer in land preparation) and No. 15 ((irrigation when the cotton plants need water) were not adopted by most farmers. Extension contact and mass media exposure were also correlated to adoption positively and significantly. In conclusion, low adopted practices should be extended by promoting the mass media exposure and extension contact of the cotton farmers in Yamethin Township.
Keywords: Perception, Adoption, Recommended cotton cultivation practices
Cotton is a traditional crop in Myanmar. It is mainly sown in the Central Dry Zone (CDZ). Sagaing, Mandalay and Magway region are the top regions for cotton production and a little bit in the Bago region, Nay Pyi Taw, Shan state and Chin state. Approximately, half a million farmers cultivate an average of 0.7 hectares of cotton per farm in the regions of Western Bago, Mandalay, Magway and Sagaing (ICAC, 2008). It is the basic fiber crop of the country and it occupies about 359,000 hectares in 2009-2010 fiscal year (DOA, 2021). In 2021, the growing areas decreased to 159,425 hectares (DOA, 2021). Production areas decreased by about 199,755 hectares within ten years.
For our country’s population of 54 million, 567,000 tons of cotton are needed for domestic use. So Myanmar needs to produce 283,400 hectares (700,000 acres) with an average yield of 2,000 kg/ha (DOA, 2021). In 2020-2021, the national average yield of cotton is about 1,738 kg/ha but the top producing region in Myanmar, Mandalay region had an average regional yield of 1,578 kg/ha. In 2017, the Department of Agriculture implemented and modified the cotton cultivation practices to increase yield and profitability and has been planning to grow 283,400 hectares (700,000 acres) of cotton countrywide in 2021. Decrease in growing areas may be due to many causes such as unstable market prices, reduction in yield and other constraints in cultivation practices. To increase the national cotton productivity, farmers’ cultivation practices must be improved and the farmers need to adopt the improved cultivation practices.
The recommended cultivation practices of the Department of Agriculture on cotton consist of 12 facts and if they are sub-divided into detail, there are 20 practices. Brief details of the recommendations are as follows.
- Cotton can be grown in the pre-monsoon, monsoon, and post-monsoon seasons.
- From mid-February to mid-March for the pre-monsoon season; from mid-May to the end of June for the rainy season; and from mid-July to mid-August for the post-monsoon season, should be grown respectively.
- To get better plant growth and yield, take deep and fine plow.
- Tap root, lateral root, and fibrous root are included in the cotton root system. From full plant emergence to 30 days (at the time of cotton buds), aerial parts of cotton plants grow slowly because of the developing tap root system. Within the stage of cotton buds to flowering time (75 -85) days, at the time of lateral root and fibrous root development, the aerial parts of cotton grow rapidly. To get the high yield, deep and fine plowing is required to promote the root system's development.
- High yielding and good cotton lint varieties are distributed by the Department of Agriculture: Ngwe Chi (6), Shwe Taung (8) and Ngwe Chi (9) should be used.
- Since Ngwe Chi (6) and Shwe Taung (8) are long in branch, ) plant spacing should be used and ) plant spacing for Ngwe Chi-9 should be used because the branch is short.
- At the time of full plant emergence, the un-filled hole should be re-planted immediately. If the number of plants per acre is reduced, the yield will be decreased, so attention must be paid.
- To get the high yield of cotton, natural fertilizer cow dung compost and chemical fertilizer should be used in combination.
- The combined use of cow dung compost and chemical fertilizer is important because the cow dung promotes rapid plant growth, maintains the soil moisture, and serves to change the soil nutrients to plant available form. For one acre of cotton, 10-25 bullock cart loads of cow dung should be used. Put cow dung compost and 1 bag of compound fertilizer on land preparation. Cow dung, 1/2 bags of compound fertilizer, and 1/2 bags of urea fertilizer should be put 6 inches apart from the base of the cotton plant during flowering.
- Thinning should be done at the emergence of (3-4) true leaf or (18-21) days after sowing.
- Weed should be free throughout the whole life of cotton. If free from weeds, cotton plants can get nutrients and give the high yield. An active cotton plant can be seen at the young stage after inter-plowing and inter-cultivation over 24 hours. This is due to better soil aeration in cotton field.
- Although cotton plants are resistant to draught, adequate water is required for the high yield. Irrigation should be done nearly to bud formation, starting from flower formation, during flowering time and boll formation if the moisture is not sufficient. Every time irrigation is done, inter-plowing should be done. After fully flowering, inter-cultivation should be done carefully so as not to damage lateral roots.
- Due to the susceptibility of the cotton root system to water lodging, irrigation and drainage canals should be constructed and excess water should be drained.
- Until 50 days of cotton, 2 times of sucking pests control and after 60 days of cotton age, red cotton bugs and cotton leaf rollers should be controlled twice. Other pests control should be done if necessary.
- Well-dried cotton squares should be collected to get high quality and not be damaged in storage. Then, gathered cotton should be stored after sundry for 1-2 days.
According to the innovation decision process model of Everett M. Rogers, farmers make their decisions such as adoption and rejection on innovations depending on five attributes of perception (Rogers, 1983). This study examined on the farmers’ perception and adoption on the recommended cotton cultivation practices.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF SAMPLE RESPONDENT FARMERS IN THE STUDY AREA
Age is important for individual people because it causes different opportunities or threats to education, exposure to the environment, access to advanced technology, and physical and mental maturity, even within a homogenous group of people. Results in Table 1 show three categories of age groups and the age range of respondent farmers. It could be seen that the majority or 62.40% of farmers were in the middle age category, followed by 20.80% in the old age category, and 16.80% fell into the younger age group. The minimum age of respondent farmers was 27 years, and the maximum age was 79 years. Usually, farmers belonging to the old-age group are low in work efficiency while the young-age group farmers are low in farming experience. Therefore, the middle-aged group of farmers have more work efficiency and they are suited for farming experience.
Another important factor that may influence the knowledge and perception of individual farmers is education. In this study, education refers to formal education. Three groups of respondents’ education are shown in Table 1. The majority (55.20%) of respondents had primary education level, followed by 31.20% of medium education level and 13.60% of high education level. Thus, the findings revealed that the majority of the respondents were found to be educated as low level of schooling years followed by a middle level of schooling years. This trend might be due to the fact that the majority of the respondents were small and medium farmers and could not go for higher education because of their financial problems and non-availability of higher educational facilities in the villages. One respondent who had no formal education will also fall in the primary level of education.
Farming experiences of the respondents are also shown in Table 1 with three groups. The majority (62.40%) of respondents had medium farming experience. That may be due to the fact that the majority of respondents belong to the middle age group. Consequently, that may cause the majority in primary education level because a person who went to farm work in young age may not get higher education. In this study, we can find that farming experience is negatively correlated to their education level and no relation to their knowledge level. These results are in line with the finding of Tin Maung Lwin (2019), who found in the study of knowledge assessment for the development of elephant foot yam value- added enterprise in Hakha Township that the farming experience level groups and farmers’ knowledge level groups on elephant foot yam enterprises had no significant relationship.
Family size is one of the important things in conventional farming in Myanmar because man power is highly required in their farming practices. Adoption on labor intensive technology and labor intensive crops growing technologies may also depend on family size or number of family labor. It is observed that the majority 73.60% of cotton farmers had medium family size followed by small (20.0%) and large (8.0%) family size in Table 1. The range of family size in the study area is minimum 1 and maximum 14. Medium family size was the family size of 4-7 in the study area, and this result is in line with the statistics of the General Administrative Department, Yamethin Township. General Administrated Department, Yamethin Township (2020) stated that the rural households in Yamethin Township have an average of four family members.
Land holding shows the wealth of the respondents. A large number (53.60%) of cotton farmers own the medium size of cultivated land followed by 29.60% having large size of land and 16.80% of farmer were having small size of land holding (Table 1). Maximum land holding of the respondents was 26.5 acres and minimum is 1 acre of land. These results give the information that cotton was grown not only by small-holder farmers but also by big-holder farmers.
Annual income of respondents as shown in Table 1 tells us that 69.60% of respondents were found to be in the medium annual income group. About 10.4% and 20.0% of respondents belong to the low and high annual income group, respectively. The possible reason that could be attributed was their land holding condition because the majority of respondents belong to the medium land holding.
Social participation is important for receiving information and knowledge for individuals. In the study area, 44.80% of the respondents belong to the group of medium social participation. 26.40% and 28.80% of the respondents fall to the low and high category of social participation. Some respondents have no social participation because they live in their farms instead of their villages and according to the Maslow’s needs theory, these respondents may fall on basic needs: physiological needs and safety needs.
Extension participation means participation in extension activities such as establishing the demonstration plots, attending the training, participating in field day and field visit etc. In this study, social participation and education of the respondents relate to the extension participation and it will describe in the later part of the discussion. The majority (40%) of the respondents belonged to the low level of participation category in extension participation followed by 38.40% and 21.60% of the respondents were medium and high extension participation Table 1. The above finding showed that the majority of respondents had low level of extension participation because some respondents live on their farms and most extension agents focus on the village to do extension activities.
** Note: social participation of the farmer is the participating as a group member in the social group within their village. Social group in their village are cooperative group, administrated group, social welfare group, religious group, Red cross group, etc. If they participate in each of group, the score is 1 and if they do not participate, the score is 0. The cumulated score of each farmer is calculated
Extension contact means the exposure of the respondent farmers to the government, non-government, and private or public organizations’ extension agents. Extension contact is important for the farmers to get the updated information and agricultural knowledge. Table 1 shows three categories of respondents’ extension contact 21.60%, 63.20% and 15.20% belonged to the low, medium and high level of extension contact of the respondents respectively. The possible reason for the medium extension contact could be due to the fact that Yamethin Township was well developed in the area of transportation.
Mass media exposure
Mass media exposure of the individual is vitally important in these days. Market information, trade policy and agricultural knowledge flow to the public in time, so mass media exposure of the farmer is also important. Television, newspapers, journals, pamphlets, mobile application and radio are popular type of mass media in the study area. Table 1 describe the mass media exposure of respondents in three categories such that 24.80%, 61.60% and 13.60% of respondents belong to low , medium and high mass media exposure respectively. Education level may be the reason for smallest group of high mass media exposure level because 13% of respondent had higher education level and higher educated persons can access most form of mass media.
FARMERS’ PERCEPTIONS ON EACH RECOMMENDED COTTON CULTIVATION PRACTICES
In this study, perception means favorable or unfavorable attitude towards each of recommended cotton cultivation practices and there are five characteristics of innovation (or recommended cultivation practices) according to Rogers (1983). Farmers’ perceptions will be categorized according to those perceived or those that do not perceive as far as each recommended cotton cultivation practices are concerned and depending on the following five characteristics of these recommended practices: (1) Relative advantage; (2) Compatibility; (3) Complexity; (4) Trialability; and (5) Observability. Then, farmers make their decision to adopt or reject these innovations or technologies.
Distribution of farmers’ perception on each recommended practices by five characteristics of these practices are described in Table 2. In this table, mean score greater than and equal to 3.5 would be denoted that farmers perceive on this practice and scores less than 3.5 are the signs for farmers’ perception as they do not perceive on the recommended cotton practices.
Most of the farmers perceived that all recommended cotton cultivation practices have relative advantage because mean scores ( ) of 19 practices were more than 4. Only the practices No-4 (using not more than 3 seeds per hole in cotton growing) wasn’t perceived by 39% of farmers and the mean score is 3.4. According to these results, most farmers perceive that 19 of the recommended practices except practice No (4) will give benefits to them. Details on the information of farmers’ perception on recommended cultivation practices by relative advantage are described in Table 2.
In terms of compatibility of the recommended practices, practices No-4 (using not more than 3 seeds per hole in cotton growing), No-6 (the combined use of natural and compound fertilizers), No-7 (application of farm yard manure), No-8 (basal fertilizer application), No-9 (fertilizer application at flowering time), No-10 (application of 50kg of compound fertilizer in land preparation), No-11 (farm yard manure, urea and compound fertilizer application at flowering time) and No-15 (irrigation when the cotton plants need water) are not perceived by most of farmers and these farmers exist between 42% and 54% of respondents. The highest mean score among these practices is 3.4. So, these eight practices fell in the not perceived category and the other 12 practices fell in the perceived category.
In terms of complexity of the recommended cotton cultivation practices, the farmers’ perceptions found in the study that practice No-7 (application 10 to 25 bullock carts of farm yard manure per acre for cotton growing) and No-15 (irrigation when cotton plants need water) are perceived by 74% and 78% of the farmers respectively. These results mean that the farmers perceive these two recommended practices as difficult to understand and use. For the rest of the 18 recommended cultivation practices, most of farmers do not perceive this complexity. Overall results of complexity point out that most farmers do not think the recommended practices are complex except for practices No -7 and No-15.
It is used to test the farmers’ perception whether the recommended practices may be experimented with on a limited basic or not. Most farmers perceived that the recommended practices may be experimented because the results showed the mean score of over 3.5 on all of recommended practices in Table 2.
Observability of the innovation or technology is the visibility of its results to others. Most farmers perceive on the observability of the recommended cultivation practices. But, practice No-4 (using not more than 3 seeds per hole in cotton growing) and practice No-15 (irrigation when the cotton plants need water) are not perceived in terms of observability by the 24% and 15% of farmers respectively.
OVERALL PERCEPTION OF FARMERS ON RECOMMENDED CULTIVATION PRACTICES
According to the dendrogram of cluster analysis by hierarchical clustering method shown in Figure 1, the 20 recommended cotton cultivation practices could be classified into four groups. Farmers’ perception on recommended cotton cultivation practices for each cluster is summarized in Table 3 and the abbreviations of each practice are described below. In cluster- 1, nine practices of recommended cotton cultivation are perceived on four positive characteristics of technology because mean scores of relative advantage, compatibility, trialability and observability are greater than 3.5. But, farmers do not perceive the complexity and the mean score is less than 3.5. There are 3 practices in cluster-2 and the perception of farmers on these 3 practices is similar in cluster-1 but the degree of scores is relatively lower if compare to cluster-1. Seven practices on cluster-3 are not perceived by farmers in terms of compatibility. Cluster-4 is distinctly perceived by farmers as different from other clusters and the farmers perceived observability in this cluster but the other four characteristics are not perceived for this practice. This practice is “to use not more than 3 seeds per hole in cotton growing”.
RELATION OF FARMERS’ PERCEPTION AND THEIR ADOPTION OF RECOMMENDED COTTON CULTIVATION PRACTICES ON EACH CLUSTER
The study continues on the relationship of farmers’ perceptions and adoption of each cluster of recommended cotton cultivation practices. Figure 2 shows the farmers’ perception on recommended practices by five characteristics and their adoption of recommended cotton cultivation practices for each cluster. In cluster No-1, nine recommended cotton cultivation practices were gathered and 95.5% of the farmers adopted by the average for this cluster. In this cluster, farmers perceived on the highest relative advantage index of 87.72% while the other clusters No-2, No-3 and No-4 have the relative advantage indexes of 86.61%, 83.50% and 68.80% respectively. This result is reliable to Rogers (1983) who stated that the greater the perceived relative advantage of an innovation, the more rapid its rate of adoption.
Compatibility in cluster No-1 is the highest index of 83.41% and the other 3 clusters have the compatibility indexes of 75.73%, 63.79% and 59.52%. Farmers’ adoption of recommended cotton cultivation practices for these clusters is decreasing in order with the decrease of compatibility index of farmers’ perception. The lowest compatibility index of farmer’s perception in cluster No-4 causes the lowest in average adoption percentage of 34.4% and only one recommended practice of No-4 (using not more than 3 seeds per hole in cotton growing) fall in this cluster. Besides that, this practice has the highest complexity index of farmers’ perception (66.42) and the high degree of complexity will create the result of lower farmers’ adoption according to diffusion of innovations theory of Rogers (1983). Rogers stated that an incompatible innovation with prevalent values and norms of social system will not be adopted as rapidly as a compatible innovation and complicated innovation will be adopted slowly by most members of the society. These statements support the results of cluster No-4 or (practice No-4) by the relation of farmers’ perception and their adoption on the recommended cultivation practice.
Triability is the degree of experimented innovation on a limited basis and observability is the visibility of innovation results (Rogers, 1983). The highest degree of farmers’ perceptions on triability and observability could encourage to adopt the technologies. The illustration in Figures 2 showed the farmers’ perception indexes of triability and observability for each cluster. The results illustrated that triability and observability indexes of perception were directly proportional to the adoption of recommended cotton cultivation practices for each cluster.
FARMERS’ ADOPTION OF RECOMMENDED COTTON CULTIVATION PRACTICES
Farmers’ adoption or rejection of recommended technologies or practices is the output of their decision. According to the innovation-decision process of Rogers (1983), adoption is a decision to make full use of an innovation as the best course of action available and rejection is a decision not to adopt an innovation. Adoption and rejection of the technologies happen in the decision stage (third stage) of the innovation-decision process. After that, implementation and confirmation stage follow. In this study, the adoption of recommended cotton cultivation practices by the farmers was observed.
Over- all adoption of recommended cotton cultivation practices by farmers to increase cotton yield were described in Table 4. According to the results, 16.0% of farmers adopted more than 88.25% of recommended practices and about 60.8% of them adopted between 64.63% and 88.25% of adoption. 23.2% of farmers fell under the 64.63% of adoption level on recommended cotton cultivation practices. Lowest adoption on these practices by farmers is 45.0% and there are fully adopted farmers on the recommended practices.
Farmers’ adoption rate of each recommended practices are shown in Table 5. As reported in this table, practices No-1(growing season), No-12(thinning time), No-18 (pests control until 50 days of the cotton age) and No-19(pests control after 60 days of the cotton age) are adopted by all of the farmers. About over 90% of farmers adopt the practices No-2(thoroughly, deep and fine plowing), No-3 (variety), No-5 (replanting un-filled hole), No-13 (two plants per hole), No-14 (weed control), and No-17 (irrigation and drainage canal) as described in the Table. Below 50% of farmers adopt the practices No-4 (seed rate per hole), No-7 (application of farmyard manure), No-8 (application of basal fertilizers), No-10 (application of compound fertilizers), and practice No-15 (irrigation).
Relationship between farmers’ adoption of the recommended cotton cultivation practices and their socio-economic characteristics
Correlation analysis was carried out to know the relationship between farmers’ adoption of the recommended practices and their socio-economic characteristics. Matrix table for relationship between adoption and socio-economic characteristics of the farmers are described in Table 6. The results of the study disclose that age, education and family size have no significant correlation with the farmers’ adoption of the recommended cotton cultivation practices. These results are in line with the observation made by Adesope, Matthews-Njoku, Oguzor & Ugwuja (2012) and they stated that age, education and family size of the farmers had no significant correlation with the adoption of organic farming practices.
The only two socio-economic characteristics of extension contact and mass media exposure of the famers correlate significantly and positively with the adoption of recommended cotton cultivation practices. Similar result for the correlation between mass media exposure and farmers’ adoption was observed by Abidulkabri (2010) that newspaper exposure correlate significantly and positively with the adoption of system of rice intensification. In the relationship of farmers’ extension contact and their adoption of recommended cotton cultivation practices, Ajayi and Solomon, (2010) stated that extension contact of the farmers influenced the farmers’ adoption of oil palm technologies.
The study was designed to analyze the socio-economic characteristics of farmers and their knowledge, perception and adoption of recommended cotton cultivation practices to increase cotton yield.
According to the results, recommended cotton cultivation practices No. 4 (seed rate per hole), No. 11 (fertilizer application at flowering time) and No-15 (irrigation) are known by less than 50% of the sample farmers and the rest of 17 practices are known by more than 70% of sample farmers. Based on the results of correlation analysis, social participation and extension participation correlate significantly to knowledge of farmers. Farmers’ education and their knowledge index have no significant correlation.
Based on the cluster analysis of farmers’ perceptions of recommended cotton cultivation practices, four clusters of farmers’ perceptions can be observed. Cluster No. 1 consists of nine practices and farmers perceived on four positive attributes of perception: relative advantage, compatibility, trialability, and observability. Farmers did not perceive the negative attribute of perception, complexity. The recommended cotton cultivation practices of cluster No.1 are growing two plants of cotton per hole, controlling pests after 60 days of cotton age, thinning time, controlling weed, thorough in plowing, replanting the un-fill hole, controlling the pests until 50 days of cotton age, inter-cultivation, and constructing the irrigating and drainage canal.
In cluster No. 2, three recommended cultivation practices are included and the perception of farmers on this cluster is similar to cluster No. 2. Cotton growing season, harvesting and storing the cotton and variety selection are comprised in this cluster.
Cluster No. 3 seems to be more complex for farmers than clusters No. 1 and No. 2. Farmers perceived this cluster as less compatible than clusters Nos.1 and 2.
Obviously, cluster No. 4 consists of only one practice, No. 4. This practice is using not more than 3 seeds per hole in cotton growing. And farmers did not think that practice No. 4 had no relative advantage for them. Farmers also thought this practice as a complex practice for them. Therefore, only 34% of farmers adopt this practice. The others 19 recommended practices were perceived as having relative advantage for the farmers.
In the study of farmers’ adoption on recommended cultivation practices, all of farmers adopted the practices of recommended growing season, thinning time, and insect pests controlling practices. The minority, about 30% to 35% of farmer, about 30% to 35% of farmers, adopted three recommended practices, viz. (1) seed rate per hole, (2) irrigation practices and (3) application of farm yard manure.
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