Perception in Improved Seed Utilization for Potato Production from Perspective of Smallholder Farmers

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Published on International Journal of Agriculture & Agribusiness
ISSN: 2391-3991, Volume 1, Issue 1, page 225 – 236
Publicattion Date: 23 October 2018

Beriso Bati Bukul
Department of Agricultural Economics, Adami Tulu Agricultural Research Centre
Adami Tulu, Ethiopia

Journal Full Text PDF: Perception in Improved Seed Utilization for Potato Production from Perspective of Smallholder Farmers (The Case of Shashemane District, West Arsi Zone, Oromia National Regional State, Ethiopia).

In Ethiopia, potato crop is produced in different agro-ecological zones through commercial as well as smallholder farmers both as a source of income and food. However, due to perishable nature and biological nature of production process, potato production is risky investment activities. In this context, risk perceptions play a key role in the production and investment behavior of farmers in potato production decisions. However, in Shashemene district, only limited attention has been paid to understand the producers’ risk perceptions in potato production. Therefore, in this study, analysis of the major sources of risks in potato production, on the basis of farmers’ perceptions, was conducted. For the study, Multi-stage sampling technique was used to select 120 sample households from four sample kebeles. Primary data collected through structured questionnaire and secondary data sources were used. A Likert scale, based on farmers’ perception, was used to rank the various sources of potato production by using improved seed varieties. The mean scores results, derived based on Likert scales, indicated that attributes such as, high productivity, early maturity, quality grain/fruit, disease resistance, pest resistance and profitability were positive perception/advantage of utilization improved potato seed for potato production which take the average score of 4.5, 3.28, 4.27, 4.21, 4.18 and 4.52, respectively While, labor demanding, high seed cost and unavailability of quality seeds at the right time were some of the disadvantages. Therefore, increasing access to quality improved potato seed for farmers increases its utilization.

Keywords: Perceptions, Improved Potato Seed, Potato Production, Likert Scale, Shashemane District.

1. Introduction
Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. In the last decade, the Ethiopian economy registered a growth of 11 percent per annum on average in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (MoFED, 2014) compared to 3.8 percent in the previous decades (World Bank, 2015). This growth has largely been supported by a relatively high growth in the agricultural sector. The importance of agriculture in Ethiopia is evidenced by its share in GDP (43%), its employment generation (80%), share of export (70%) and providing about 70% raw material for the industries in the country in 2012/13 (UNDP, 2013).
Despite such policies focus on the sector over the last two decades, its productivity is constrained by lack of appropriate and affordable agricultural technologies, inefficiency in production, poor infrastructure, inefficient marketing systems, land degradation, rapidly expanding population, and inaccessibility to agricultural inputs such as improved/hybrid seeds, fertilizers and agro-chemicals (Yu and Nin-Pratt, 2014).
Ethiopian diversified agro‐climatic condition makes it suitable for the production of a broad range of fruits, vegetables and herbs. The wide range of altitude, ranging from below sea level to over 3000m above sea level, gives it a wide range of agro ecological diversity ranging from humid tropics to alpine climates, where most types of vegetable crops can be successfully grown. Holders living near to urban centers largely practice vegetable farming. Most vegetables are not commonly practiced by the rural private peasant holders, hence the small volume of production recorded as well evidenced by the survey results (CSA, 2015).
Vegetable production is practiced both under rainfed and irrigation systems. The irrigated vegetable production system is increasing because of increasing commercial farms and development of small scale irrigation schemes (Baredo, 2013; cited in Bezabih et al., 2014). Ethiopia has a variety of vegetable crops grown in different agro ecological zones by small farmers, mainly as a source of income as well as food. The production of vegetables varies from cultivating a few plants in the backyards, for home consumption, to large-scale production for the domestic and home markets. Oromia National Regional State in general and West Arsi zone in particular is known by its potato production and supplying it to different market centers ………

2. Research Methodology
2.1. Description of study area
This study was conducted in Shashemene district, West Arsi zone of Oromia National Regional State, Ethiopia. Shashemene district is located at 250 km from Addis Ababa towards South direction. The district is located at 7° 12′ North and 38° 36′ east having an altitude of 1600-2800 meters above sea level with a total area of 467.18 km square. The district has 37 rural kebeles and 8 sub cities. The total rural population of the district was 248,093 was 28, 306 (males 23, 627 and females 4,679) of which more than 83% depend on agriculture for their livelihood and majority of them are smallholders owning a plot of less than 0.5 hectares having featured a crop livestock mixed farming system (DOA, 2016). According to DOA, (2016) the major agro-ecologies of the district were mid-land (51.4%), high land (29.6%) and low land (19%) having clay loam soil type for highland and sandy soil for mid-land and low land soil types. The district receives an annual rainfall ranging from 800 mm to 1200 mm raining twice a year. The district has bi-modal rainfall distribution with small rains starting from March/April to May and the main rainy …….