Adoption and Perception of Farmers towards Attributes of Improved Teff (Quncho) Varieties

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Published on International Journal of Agriculture & Agribusiness
Publication Date: May 17, 2019

Regasa Dibaba Wake, Afework Hagos Mesfin, Chilot Yirga & Endeshaw Habte
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Assosa Agricultural Research Center, Assosa, Ethiopia
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Journal Full Text PDF: Adoption and Perception of Farmers towards Attributes of Improved Teff (Quncho) Varieties (Evidence from Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia).

Adoption of improved Teff varieties (Quncho) is very important to increase productivity and it can also improve food security. To get the expected benefit, the technology should be adopted well by smallholder farmers. However, the rate of adoption of improved varieties in the country has remained low. Hence, the study looks in to preferences of small-holder farmers to varietal attributes that determine the adoption of Teff varieties in the study area. In this study, multistage sampling techniques were employed to select sampled households from two districts. About 249 smallholder farmers were selected randomly from nine kebele administrations proportionally. Both qualitative and quantitative types of data were used. Primary data was collected by using both close ended and open ended (semi- structured) questionnaire and personal interview, focus group discussion and key informant interview was used to collect the data. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. In 2015/16 production season, about 58.23% of the sampled household were adopters 41.77% of them didn’t adopt Teff varieties in the study area. The finding of this study suggest that farmers in the area seek specific varietal attributes, such as yield potential, tolerance to disease and lodging, better Teff grain price and color, etc. The farmers’ perceptions of improved Teff varieties-specific characteristics significantly determine adoption decisions, which suggests the need to go beyond the commonly considered socio-economic, demographic and institutional factors in adoption process. Information about the benefits of improved Teff varieties should be given for farmers to increase farmer’s awareness about the preferences and develop farmer’s attitude towards improved Teff varieties. Therefore, the research centers and extension system has to give more attention to participatory research which considers farmers’ priorities and needs.

Keywords: Improved Teff varieties, Small-holder farmers, Perceptions, Varietal attributes.

1. Introduction
Eragrostis Teff (Zucc.) is a small cereal grain indigenous to Ethiopia. Teff grains are milled into flour and mixed with water in order to form slurry and fermented for two or three days and bake in to a flat soft bread –just like pancake, which is locally known as “Injera” (Haftamu et al, 2009). It is predominantly grown in Ethiopia as a cereal grain and widely grown in both high potential and marginal production areas (CSA, 2010). The energy content is only surpassed by maize.
Compared to other cereals, Teff is a relatively low risk crop as it can withstand adverse weather conditions. In addition, the crop suffers from fewer disease and pest problems, and can grow under water logged conditions and mainly produced for the market because the price is less variable than for other crops (Fufa et al., 2011). Teff grows on various soil types ranging from very light sandy to very heavy clay soils and under mildly acidic to slightly alkaline soil conditions. It can also be grown in low rainfall and drought prone areas characterized by protracted growing seasons and frequent terminal moisture stress; that tolerates reasonable levels of both drought and water logging better than most other cereals and cultivation of Teff in Ethiopia has partly been motivated by its relative merits over other cereals in the use of both the grain and straw (Miller, 2010).
Besides, it has been given little attention in research, development and public support (CSA, 2013). This is due of its localized importance in Ethiopia (Fufa et al., 2011). However, recently improved technologies are increasingly promoted to farmers in sub-Saharan-African countries to address low agricultural productivity in their staple crops (Vandercasteelen et al, 2016). In Ethiopia, the Government has significantly invested in helping farmers to increase crop production and productivity by providing yield-enhancing inputs and benefit farmers from economies of scale (ATA, 2016).
Teff is among a major cereal crop produced in Benishangul-Gumuz region for consumption and market. To increase Teff production and productivity different technologies have been introduced by different stakeholders along the Teff value chain. Part of it Teff improved varieties like Quncho and Tsedey were promoted by research and development organizations.
According to (Fufa et al., 2011), previously released varieties have not been widely accepted by farmers because of their varietal attributes like color, despite high yield levels. However, because of its color and yield, Quncho (DZ-Cr-387) variety has become popular. It is one of the new crop varieties which are rapidly expanding to the most Teff growing areas of the country with the genetic capacity of the crop’s production more than 30 quintals per hectares of land, which is three times more than the local Teff but faces the adoption bottle neck (ATA, 2012).
Given the above mentioned facts, it is imperative to describe the existing adoption level and identify varietal attributes that determine the preferences of small-holder farmers the adoption of improved Teff varieties. Moreover, investigating the perception and preferences of the farmers’ towards adoption of Teff improved varieties is also crucial. Hence, systematic research on specific varietal attributes and farmers’ preferences is useful to provide useful information, bridge the existing knowledge gap and helps to enhance the success of Teff crop production. The study was conducted in Benishangul-Gumuz Regional state, Assosa zone and Mao-Komo special district where there is mixed farming systems. The research result could be applicable for different non-traditional Teff growing areas especially on intermediate and humid low land agro-ecologies which are characterized by ample arable lands both at smallholder farmers and commercial ones. By pointing characteristics which determines adoption of Teff improved varieties, the study would provide important input to the research and development for enhancing adoption of agricultural technologies effectively in general and Teff improved varieties in particular.
Hence, this study has aimed to identify small-holders improved Teff varieties preferences and attributes that affect adoption of Teff improved varieties in the study area. The objective of this study is to identify farmers’ preferences and varietal attributes that determine farmers’ adoption of improved Teff varieties in the study area.

2. Research Methodology
2.1. Description of the Study Area
The study area is located in the Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State at the Western parts of Ethiopia. Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State is found 661 km away from the capital city of the country, Addis Ababa, in the west. It is located at 9030′- 11030′ latitude and 34020′- 36030′ longitude. Plain undulating slopes and mountains characterize the topography of the region. The altitude of the region ranges mainly between 580 and 2731 meters above sea level. The research was conducted in Benishangul-Gumuz Regional state, Assosa zone and Mao-Komo special district where there is mixed farming systems. Major crops grown include: sorghum, maize, Teff, soybean, groundnut, finger-millet, wheat, rice, and sesame.

2.2. Sampling Procedures
The districts were selected purposively as potential Teff growing area, where improved Teff varieties have been introduced. In this study a two stage sampling technique was employed. The first stage was random selection of Teff growing Kebeles from the study area, followed by selection of sample households randomly. The Kebele identification was made through reviewing secondary data on production and area coverage of Teff. Hence, representative Teff growing Kebeles were randomly selected from the study area. In the second stage, representative number of household heads was selected for data collection from identified Teff growers using random sampling technique taking into account proportional to size(number) of Teff growers in each selected rural kebeles.
Hence, a total of 9 kebeles/villages (6 from Assosa and 3 from Mao-Komo districts) Teff growing were selected. Before selecting household heads to be included in the sample, Teff grower household heads of each rural kebele was identified in collaboration with kebele leaders, key informants and development agents of the respective rural kebele. Finally, 249 sample households were selected using probability proportional to size considering from each kebeles.

2.3. Method of Data collection
The study used both primary and secondary data sources that are consistent, available, adequate and reliable for the objective intended to be addressed. Independent questionnaires were designed for farmers to collect necessary data from the study area. During the course of field visits, the questionnaire was tailored to all sample farmers conditions in the study areas. Semi-structured formal interview guidelines were prepared in the form of questionnaires. Before data collection, the questionnaires were pre-tested. This led to further revision of these lists to make sure that important issues had not been left out. The survey made formal interviews with randomly selected farmers using the pre-tested semi-structured questionnaires. In addition to the questionnaire survey, an informal survey in the form of focus group discussion technique was employed using checklists for farmers to obtain additional supporting information for the study. The discussions were made with key informant farmers, and agricultural and relevant experts. To fill gaps observed during personal interviews, secondary data were obtained from various sources such as reports of bureau of agriculture at different levels, CSA, previous research findings, and other published and unpublished materials, which are found to be relevant to the study.

2.4. Method of Data Analysis
To change the raw data of the study into fact, both descriptive and inferential statistics were used. Descriptive statistics such as frequency, mean, percentage, and standard deviation were used in the process of comparing socio-economic, demographic and institutional characteristics of households. Inferential statistics such as t-test and chi-square test, were used to test the statistical significance of variations among the sample households.

3. Result and Discussion
3.1. Sample Households from each district
The simple respondents were selected from 9 rural villages or farming communities (6 from Assosa and 3 for Mao-Komo districts) that were considered for the study. Moreover, study employed random selection of sample households from each community, giving a total sample size of 249 (170 for Assosa and 79 for Mao-Komo districts). The number of rural communities and farmers chosen from Assosa district was more because of its large potential of Teff producers and well experienced in cultivating Teff crop relative to Mao-Komo special district.

3.2. Educational Level of the sample households
Education and use of improved Teff varieties are positively related. Educational status of a farmer may directly affect adoption and application of new agricultural technologies. Figure 1 below, shows that the majority of respondents did not attended any kind of education among the sample households, about 38.55 % were illiterates who cannot read and write, since the majority of respondents did not have any access to education the adoption process of new improved Teff varieties (Quncho) may be affected.
About 34.54 % of the respondents were attend elementary (1-4) while 19.68 % were second cycle (5-8), 4.42 % informal (religious and adult education) and only 2.81% attend high school. This implies that the education level of households was highly skewed towards illiterate and elementary (figure1).
As indicated from figure 2 below, increased use of improved Teff varieties that enhance the productivity of Teff in the country. This because of more advance farming practices and knowledge and experience share between farmers themselves that may also have contributed to increase over years.
The share of area allocated for all crops and productivity indicated in the below table. When we look at the average productivity of all crops in general were below the national averages. The main reason is there were natural disasters like insect pests’ infestation, heavy rainfall and other biotic and abiotic stresses during the survey season in the study areas

3.3. Institutional and social networks of the households
The Ethiopian extension system has engaged development experts to serve farmers in various disciplines mainly in the areas of crop production, livestock health and production and natural resources management. Farmers had contact with extension agents in different ways and times. The survey result confirmed that the adopters had high and significant frequency of contact with development experts than non-adopter counterparts regarding new varieties of Teff at 1% probability level. Moreover, extension agents are the major sources of information and training for farmers regarding improved agricultural technologies. The result of this study is in agreement with the study of adoption of Quncho Teff Tsibuk (2015). The survey results indicates farmers whose friends, neighbors and relatives cultivated improved Teff varieties have adopted improved Teff varieties. This implies that peer farmers exchange information regarding Teff farming and share knowledge and skills regarding newly introduced agricultural technologies like Teff improved varieties and this had high and significant effect on adoption of Teff varieties. As indicated in the below table farmers who have friends and families in leadership position had also higher adoption level than their counterparts.
Other factors like engagement in community leadership, being a model farmer, access to media (radio-ownership), and beehive ownership had an influence on adoption of improved Teff varieties as indicated below.
As table 3 displayed that majority of the total respondents acquire knowledge about improved Teff varieties for production of Quncho varieties through exposures of family members, friends and others by sharing their experiences and play vital role in adopting new technologies. Moreover, about 73.09 % of the total sample respondents are exposed to the knowledge of improved Teff varieties through contact with colleagues, this had created knowledge share that contribute to adoption. Sample respondents having leadership position in the village, radio and community leadership acquire more information and knowledge about improved Teff varieties and had a significant effect on the process of adoption of the technology. Therefore it can be concluded that farmers’ social contacts, membership to affiliations, leadership role and ownership of communication resources affect farmers’ adoption of the technology.
Exchange visits, field days and demonstration activities are very important to create awareness and share knowledge and skills on new agricultural technologies. For this reason the national extension system has engaged in promoting and popularization of agricultural technologies at National, regional and even kebele levels for wider dissemination of newly released improved varieties. Hence, the survey results revealed that participation in field visit of Teff varieties had significant effect on adoption.

3.4. Access, sources and utilization of inputs for Teff
According to the survey results, about 5.85 kg non-bought and 8.6 kg of bought Teff seeds were used during the survey time. The mean non-bought seed of the adopters and non-adopters was highly and significantly different at 1% probability level. Thus, implies that the seed rate of adopters was higher than non-adopters as the area covered by adopters is higher than non-adopters as indicated in the table below.
Moreover, on average about 2.4 kg of bought seed was used by the adopters while 1.9 kg for non-adopters. The mean seed cost incurred during the survey season was about 19 Ethiopian birr for non-adopters and about 31 Ethiopian Birr for adopters. The implication is that most of the time Teff grower farmers utilize stored seeds in the study areas.