Appraisal of the attributes of potato production technology

· Articles
Authors

S.K. Yadav*, S. Roy & T.K. Bag
Central Potato Research Station (ICAR), Shillong,-793009, Meghalaya
*Corresponding author: S.K. Yadav; email: sanjaybhu05@rediffmail.com

Abstract

The study was conducted in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya to study the farmer’s perceptions of the attributes of the potato technology namely improved agro techniques, potato protection and on farm storage technique. It was found that potato technologies had a high degree of simplicity, compatibility, observability, trialability, divisibility, and predictability; medium levels of relative advantage, complexity, cost requirements, and profitability.

Keywords Potato, agricultural technology, farmer’s perceptions

Introduction

Technology is assumed to connote a new, scientifically derived, often complex input supplied to farmers by organizations with deep technical expertise. Technology adoption is crucial because it is the vehicle that allows farmers to participate in a rapidly changing world where technology has become vital to a farmer’s life. Farmer’s choice to adopt a new technology requires several types of information. The farmer must know that the technology exists; he must know that the technology is beneficial; and he must know how to use it effectively. The perceived attributes of an innovation are significant predictors of the rate of adoption and are instrumental in their adoption by farmers.

For the past five decades, central potato research station, Shillong has been doing immense job to cope with the problems related to potato cultivation in the entire north-east. The station has put an extensive effort to popularize sustainable potato production technologies for the region of Meghalaya in particular. Therefore an effort was made to study the farmer’s perception of the attributes of potato technologies. The study was conducted in East Khasi hills district of Meghalaya in 2013. A total of 100 farmers were selected from 9 villages. On-farm demonstrations had already been conducted in those villages by CPRS, Shillong under MM-I during 2011 and 2012. Potato technologies selected for the evaluation were improved agro techniques, potato protection and on farm storage technique. Recommended practices are listed below in Table 1.

Table 1: Details of technological intervention

Selected potato technologies

Details

Plot size Length 3m,Width 3.6m
Spacing Row-row 60 cm and plant – plant 20cm
Seed rate 25q ha-1
Planting Furrow against slope to avoid soil erosion, large seized tubers are to be planted in furrows in upper side of the slope and small   tubers in the downward slope.
Manuring 100q ha-1FYM,
Balanced use of chemical fertilizers 70:120:60 kg NPK ha-1 at planting, 50 kg N ha-1at earthing up
Inter culture operation Weeding (Manual); Earthing up when plants are 10 -15 cm tall
Management of late blight Spray with Curzate M 8 and Indofil M- 45 i.e.(Combination of systemic and contact fungicides, 2 sprays of metalaxyl 8% + mancozeb 64% @0.25 % and 3 sprays of mancozeb@0.2%) in alternation.
Management of Bacterial Wilt Use of stable bleaching powder @ 12 kg ha-1at the time of planting
Potato tuber moth (under storage condition) Use of dried and chopped Lantana camara leaves in the store.

In this present study, ten attributes were taken for the assessment of potato technologies, namely relative advantage, compatibility, simplicity, trialability, divisibility, observability, cost of technology, profitability and predictability. The data were collected through pre-structured interview schedule. The attributes of the potato technologies evaluated by the farmers are presented in Table 2.

Table 2: Percentage distribution of respondents according to their perception of the attributes of improved potato technologies

Attributes

Response categories

Relative advantage

High (45%)

Medium (47%)

Low (8%)

Compatibility

Highly suitable (43%)

Somewhat suitable (41%)

Not suitable (16%)

Simplicity

Easy to use (56%)

Not very easy to use (39%)

Difficult to use (5%)

Complexity

Highly complex (10%)

Somewhat complex (55%)

Less complex (35%)

Trialability

Easy to try (97%)

-

Difficult to try (3%)

Observability

Results clearly visible (76%)

Results somewhat visible (20%)

Results not visible (4%)

Divisibility

Divisible to use (93%)

-

Not divisible to use (7%)

Cost of technology

Low cost (25%)

Medium cost (62%)

High cost (11%)

Profitability

High profitability (16%)

Medium profitability (66%)

Low profitability (28%)

Predictability

Low risk (53%)

Medium risk (41%)

High Risk (6%)

Relative advantage:(Rogers, 2003) affirmed “Relative advantage as the degree to which the technology is perceived as being better than the idea it supersedes.” It is positively related to the rate of adoption. It speaks to the possibility of increased income, reduced cost, or other factors that may make adopting this practice advantageous over other alternatives, including doing nothing. From the given Table 2 it was apparent that majority of the farmers (47%) avowed that improved potato production technology was associated with medium level of relative advantage. Compatibility: It refers to the degree to which a technology is perceived as suitable to the resources, needs and practices of the farmers. Any farm technology which is compatible with the existing farming system can be adopted quickly compared to that which is incompatible with the existing agro climatic and socio-economic conditions. Around 43% of the respondents expressed that technologies were highly suitable, where as 41% perceived the technology as somewhat suitable.

Simplicity: Simplicity signifies the degree to which a technology is perceived as easy to understand and use. (Sah et al., 2006 ) concluded that the technologies that were relatively difficult to perform and not compatible with the existing biophysical situations were adopted to a lesser extent, where as simple and non input technologies were adopted widely. It is positively related to the rate of adoption. More than half of the respondents (56%) expressed that the technologies were easy to use while (39%) stated it’s neither easy nor difficult.

Complexity: Complexity denotes “the degree to which the innovation is perceived as relatively difficult to understand and use.” It is negatively related to the rate of adoption. Around (55%) respondents perceived the technology as somewhat complex while (35%) respondents stated the technologies involved less complexity. This might be due to non accessibility of good quality seeds and shops for purchase of inputs (chemical fertilizers and fungicides). Farmers had to travel long distance for the purchase of requisite inputs and most notably sometimes due to non purchasing power of farmers for buying their inputs.

Trialability: Trialability refers to “the degree to which an innovation may be experimented within a limited basis.” Many farmers do not want to make wholesome shift in terms of existing farming practices without ascertaining its compatibility with the existing one and hesitate to take risk. The expectation is that if a farmer can implement the new practice on a trial basis he can possibly even modify the potential practice further to meet his specific needs. It is positively related to the rate of adoption. While 97% respondents perceived the technology had high rate of triability only inconsiderable numbers of respondents (3%) expressed that the technologies were difficult to perform on a trial basis.

Observability: observability connotes “the degree to which the results of an innovation are visible to others.” The farmers are more likely to adopt innovations if they could see the results of the technology being used. It is positively related to the rate of adoption. Majority of the farmers (76%) indicated that the result were clearly visible. The initial performance indicators of the plant namely, quick growth, more number of branches, uniform flowering recorded promising impact on degree of observability, correspondingly symptoms of pathogenic attack could effortlessly be observed on plants .Thus the particular attributes of potato technology rated high on observability. Only (20%) respondents stated the results were somewhat visible.

Divisibility: It presages the ability to divide the technology into smaller units so that its adoption could be implemented in an incremental manner. (93%) respondents opinioned that potato technologies were divisible to use where as negligible numbers of respondents (7%) stated that the technologies could not be adopted in parts.

Cost of technology: In the present study it represents the variable cost involved in adopting a technology .Majority of the respondents (62%) expressed that the technologies involved medium cost. This might be due to the fact that somehow, farmers could meet the expense of buying seed,
manure, fertilizers, fungicides ,despite non availability and high cost of fertilizers and fungicides. On the contrary (23%) respondents stated that the technologies involved low cost.

Profitability: Profitability is assessed in terms of increased certainty of output, long term and short term returns to investment, saving of time, labour cost etc depending upon the perceived priority of the farmer concerned. Majority of the respondents (56%) perceived that the technology had medium level of profitability whereas (28%) respondents viewed, the technologies had low level of profitability. This might be due to the fact that the farmers in the region are vulnerable to the market fluctuation and market constraints. Whole sellers in regulated market and retailers in the traditional markets were the most frequently utilized marketing channel for disposing off their yield, where the bargaining power of the farmers is very weak and the traders finally dictates the price.

Predictability:It advocates the degree of certainty for receiving expected benefits from integrating a new farm technology into the existing farming system. All technology adoption decisions carry with them some mixture of subjective risk – such as human tendencies to assume more uncertainty in outcomes from unfamiliar techniques – and objective risks resulting from variations in rainfall, pests, diseases and other blights, and the timely access to critical inputs. The observed patterns of technology adoption are typically influenced by the farmers’ individual risk preferences and their ability to bear the risk of a new and uncertain endeavor. Majority of the respondents (53%) perceived the technologies involved less risk, while (41%) respondents declared the technologies involved medium risk. This could be due to the fact that the farmers were assured to get good return by following the recommended package of practices of recommended potato technologies and correspondingly when uncertainty decreases the rate of adoption of a particular innovation increases.

On the view of final evaluation, it can be accomplished that potato technologies had high degree of simplicity, compatibility, observability, trialability, divisibility and predictability followed by medium level of relative advantage, complexity, cost requirements and profitability. These findings were partially supported by earlier worker (Kumar, 2007). In developing countries like India, farmers are very cautious in taking adoption decision because crop failure or substantial reduction in the output (in case the new farm technology fails) can cause a greater loss resulting in starvation of the whole family. Hence, before introducing any farm technology at the farmers’ fields, it must be evaluated by the farming community on the basis of above criteria. While recommending any new technology the care should be taken that the particular technological intervention should be income generating and remunerative (Sen.,1995).

References

Kumar, A. 2007. Farmers’ perception of the attributes of selected potato technologies. Potato J. 34(1-2): 141-142.

Rozers, E.M. 2003. Diffusion of innovation (5th ed). New York: Free Press.

Sen, D. 1995. The management of transfer of farm forestry technologies-emerging trends.In: Saxena, N.C. and Ballabh, V. (Ed.) Farm Forestry in South Asia. Sage Publications, New Delhi, India pp. 97-218.

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