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Thesis

Development Of An ‘IT’ Enabled Need Based Dairy Advisory System

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TNV_PT_05015.pdf(2.08 MB)

(Ph.D. Thesis)

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2008
Sudeepkumar, N.K. | Mathialagan, P | Thirunavukkarasu, M | Subramanian, A
Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University
Ph.D

India is a country where majority of the population lives in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture. Agriculture, being influenced by climatic conditions, livestock rearing is central to the survival of millions of small, marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers across the country. Livestock sector plays an important role in socio-economic development of rural households. Among the livestock, cattle and buffaloes play a significant role with the potential to provide gainful self-employment and sustainable income to the rural poor. Rural communities and small-scale agricultural producers are deeply affected by global, economic, environmental and political forces. The gap between the information rich and information poor is getting wider. Today’s extension machineries are unable to cope up with this gap. The computer aided knowledge dissemination mechanism help to reach the un-reached. With the present infrastructure, one cannot expect poor farmers and food insecure residents to use computers for improving their lives. However, the existing extension personnel can take advantage of the modern communication technologies to improve the transfer of technology process. With this background, the study was undertaken to study information needs of dairy farmers and to develop an ‘IT’ module to disseminate the need based information. The perception of the extension personnel and dairy farmers on the developed module was studied and related with their characteristics so as to propose suitable strategies. Data were collected to identify the needs of farmers on various aspects of dairy farming from researcher, extension personnel and dairy farmers.Thirty four researchers from Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS), 56 extension personnel from the State Animal Husbandry department, dairy cooperatives and private dairies of Erode and Kancheepuram districts and 120 dairy farmers from eight villages of 4 blocks in Erode and Kancheepuram districts formed the respondents for the study. The data pertaining to the needs of the dairy farmers were collected and analysed. The identified needs were prioritised based on which a computer- based module was developed using Macromedia Flash programme. The suggestions from the subject matter specialists, extension personnel and farmers were taken, suitable modifications done and module finalised. The perceived usefulness of the module was evaluated among the farmers and extension personnel. The relationship of socio-economic characteristics of the dairy farmers and extension personnel with that of the usefulness of the module was analysed using correlation and multiple regression. The study revealed that 46 per cent of the extension personnel belonged to young age group, with less than 10 years of experience. Majority of the respondents had basic professional degree. Equal number (45 per cent) of respondents had low as well as high level of information acquisition behaviour. They had low level of information processing behaviour, information storage behaviour and information dissemination behaviour. The attitude towards computer usage was medium to high with high level of knowledge and medium level of skill in using computer. Majority of the extension personnel had high level of achievement motivation, high level of attitude towards working in rural areas and low level of attitude towards villagers. Majority of the dairy farmers were of middle to old age, literate, with dairy farming as their subsidiary occupation. They had medium level of annual income, high level of experience in dairy farming and maintained small herd size of less than 3.9 animal units. The dairy farmers had medium level of scientific orientation, high level of economic motivation (46 per cent), low level of information seeking behaviour on dairy farming and medium to high level of decision making behaviour. They had high level of attitude towards computer usage but no farmer had the skill to use the computer. The information needs of dairy farmers were collected under six major sub-heads and a total of 31 needs were identified. They include topics on breeding (seven), feeding (six), management (nine), marketing (one), disease control (three) and calf management (five). In breeding, seven topics viz., breeds used for crossing in Tamil Nadu, heat symptoms, time of service, advantages of artificial insemination, pregnancy diagnosis, importance of inter-calving period and breeding of heifers formed the information needs of dairy farmers. In feeding, balanced feeding, feeding schedule, formulation of ration, fodder cultivation, need for feeding mineral mixture and water requirement were identified as the major needs of dairy farmers. In management, selection of animals, milking methods, clean milk production, drying of animals, summer management, management of heifers, milch and pregnant animals were selected based on the score obtained.In the area of marketing, only animal insurance was the major need identified by the respondents. In disease control, three areas namely deworming, vaccination and repeat breeding were selected. Foot and Mouth Disease, Mastitis and calf diarrhoea were the important needs for more than 50 per cent of the respondents. Based on the needs identified, the contents were organised, script prepared both in English and Tamil , video clipping and photos collected and the ‘IT’ enabled dairy advisory system was developed using Macromedia Flash programme. The suggestions of the subject matter specialists, extension personnel and farmers were included. The overall perception of the farmers and the extension personnel on the dairy advisory system ranged from satisfactory to more satisfactory.The utility, technical and message component were more satisfactory for the farmers than the extension personnel, whereas the useability of the module was more satisfactory for the extension personnel than the farmers. The study revealed that the extension personnel’s attitude towards computer usage, knowledge and skill in using computer are the major factors that contributed to the perception of the module. The remaining characteristics did not have significant association with the perception of the dairy advisory system. The study on the relationship of the farmers characteristics towards their perception of the dairy advisory system showed that age was found to have negative and highly significant relationship with the perception, whereas education and attitude towards computer had a positive and highly significant association with the perception on the module. Information seeking behaviour and annual income had a positive and significant association with the perception, while dairy farming experience had a negative and significant association with the perception.

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