A D O P T I O N O F I M P R O V E D A G R I C U L T U R A L PRACTICES...
A D O P T I O N O F I M P R O V E D
A G R I C U L T U R A L PRACTICES
S. N. S I N G H A N D S. K. REDDY*
OF FARMERS
The research reported in this paper presents the results of an attempt to find
investigated adoption of improved practices out the socio-economic factors that are
as a function of socio-economic character-
associated with adoption of improved
istics of farmers. Data were obtained from agricultural practices among farmers, studied
a group of 172 farmers in a Community in an Indian situation. There is considerable
Development Block of Delhi State. It was agreement in countries, such as United
observed that some of the socio-economic States regarding the relationship between
characteristics considered in this study, viz., socio-economic factors and adoption. With
farm size, economic status, social participa-
a few exceptions, these studies1 have found
tion and education, were associated with that farm ownership, education, size of farm,
adoption of improved practices and that they income and social participation are positively
functioned in a definite direction leading to associated with adoption of improved
the adoption of recommended practices. practices. The findings with respect to age,
This suggests that cultivators should be as a factor influencing adoption, were incon-
stratified according to broad socio-economic clusive. Since the study in this direction is
groups indicating responsiveness to extension limited in India, it was carried out firstly
contacts and working with selected groups to find out the nature and degree of relation-
may then yield higher returns for extension ship between various socio-economic factors
effort expended.
and adoption and secondly to see whether
any differences exist in the average adoption
of different categories of farmers according
T H E PROBLEM
to their socio-economic characteristics. With
One of the problems facing agricultural this view the following null-hypotheses were
development in this country is the astonish-
formulated.
ingly low level of adoption by farmers of
improved agricultural practices. The various
(1) There are no significant differences
reasons attributed to the low level of adop-
in the average adoption between
tion are economic, social and psychological
different categories of farmers, accord-
factors, and those connected with the farm
ing to their socio-economic character-
and the practice in question. This paper
istics.
*The authors are Rural Sociologists and students working for the doctorate, in the
Division of Agricultural Extension, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi,
India. They are thankful to Mr. A. R. Khan, Head of the Division of Agricultural
Extension for going through the
paper and for his suggestions.
1 Report of the Sub-committee on the Diffusion and Adoption of Far m Practices. T h e
Rural Sociological Society, "Sociological Research on the Diffusion and Adoption of new
Farm Practices, "Kentucky Agl. Expt. Sta., Univ. of Kentucky, Dept. Ru. Soc. 1952".

264
S. N. S I N G H AND S. K. REDDY
(2) (a) T h e r e is no significant relation-
adoption index 3-5; High adoption index
ship between adoption of improved 6 and over). No attempt is m a d e here to
practices and socio-economic factors. discuss the adoption of individual practices.
(b) T h e r e is no significant relation-
T h e socio-economic characteristics covered
ship between adoption of improved in this study were farm size, economic status,
practices and any one of the socio-
social participation, education and age.
economic factors when the effects of
other factors are eliminated.
T h e measure of economic status employed
in this study was the index of economic
Methodology.—Data were collected from status based upon relative scores with respect
Khanjawala Community Development Block to five separate items. These were: area of
in Delhi State. A random sample of three land owned, number and type of livestock
villages was selected from the Block as a owned, number of implements possessed,
whole. All the owner farmers in three type of housing and tangible evidence of the
selected villages were enumerated and inter-
farmers' economic status by way of possession
viewed, yielding a total of 172 interviews. of certain material things. Each of these 'terns
T h e d a t a were collected through the inter-
were credited with suitable scores. (a)
view schedule method.
L a n d = 3 points per acre; (b) Live-
stock = D r a u g h t cattle = 3 points per pair;
Eight improved practices recommended by milch cattle = 3 points per head; Camel =
extension agency were included in this study. 3 points, Goat or Sheep = 1 point per head;
T h e criteria employed for the selection of separate cattle shed = 1 point (c) imple-
practices were (1) the practice selected should ments: olpad thresher = 3 points; iron
concern most farmers of the area; (2) the plough, mechanical chaff cutter and culti-
practice should be objectively measurable; vator = 2 points each; bullock cart = 3
a n d ; (3) it should have been possible for the points (d) cowdung gas plant = 3 points;
adoption of the practice to take place within Radio = 3 points,; Cycle = 2 points (e)
a reasonable time period. Eight practices Pacca house = 3 points, kuchha house =
conforming to the above criteria were 1 point, mixed = 2 points. Total score
selected. These were improved varieties of obtained by a farmer with respect of these
wheat and bajra (pennisetum typhoides), items was taken to indicate his economic
composting of mannure in pits, green manur-
status. On the basis of these scores, farmers
ing, mould-board plough, olpad wheat were divided into three groups viz. low
thresher, use of plant protection measures economic status score 0-35; medium
and 2,4-D sprays for the control of weeds economic status score 36-65; high economic
in the wheat crop.
status score 65 and above.
T h e measure of adoption used in the study
was the index of adoption which is given
For the purpose of this study a scale
by the number of practices adopted by a was develop d and used to measure social
farmer out of eight improved practices. participation. It was based on the scale
Each practice was credited with a unit point. formulated by H a y (1951)2 and necessary
T h e farmers were grouped into three modifications were m a d e therein to suit
high (Low adoption index 0-2; Medium local conditions. T h e definition of social
2 Hay , D. G. "Social participation of individuals in rural communities of nort h east",
Rural Sociology, 16 ( 1 9 5 1 ) : 127-136.

ADOPTION OF IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES OF FARMERS
265
participation given by H a y (1948)3 served independent variables was estimated to
as basic orientation. He defined social parti-
ascertain the relationship between adoption
cipation as, "the voluntary sharing in person and other variables. Partial correlation
to person and group to group relationship coefficient of adoption with socio-economic
beyond the immediate households." Pancha-
factors (economic status, farm size, and social
yats (local self governing bodies) and participation) was worked out to study the
cooperatives were included in formal relationship between adoption and any one
organizations. Scores of 0, 1, 2 and 3 have of the factors, when the effect of other two
been given for non-membership, membership, factors was kept constant. Those factors
taking part in discussions and holding an showing significant relationship with adoption
office respectively in formal organizations. were retained in multiple correlation and
In respect of informal activities included in regression analysis. These were farm, size,
this study scores and 1 and 2 were given for economic status and social participation.
attendance and contributions respectively.
Total score obtained by an individual was
To judge the contribution of these three
taken as the index of his social participation. factors, to the variability in the dependent
Based on these scores, farmers were classified variable, multiple regression equations were
into three social participation categories viz. fitted with adoption as dependent variable
low social participation score 1-3; medium and the socio-economic factors as indepen-
4-6; high 7 and above. T h e farmers were dent variables. T h e regression equations
also classified on the basis of farm size, age relating to adoption with farm size and
and education.
economic status, and adoption with eco-
nomic status and social participation were
Two types of statistical tests were also fitted to see the contribution of two of
employed in this study to test the hypothesis. these factors at a time with economic status
To test the first hypothesis analysis of as one of the factors. In all the cases
variance (F-test) was applied to find out significance of regression coefficients was
the significant differences between different tested against their standard errors calculated
categories of each of the five socio-economic with the help of corresponding 'C values.
factors. T h e differences in the average
adoption index between different categories
T h e results are discussed below.
of socio-economic factors were tested by
means of t-test. Only those factors showing
A N A L Y S I S
significant relationship with adoption were
T h e results of analysis of variance are
included in the t-test.
presented in table 1. They show that the
T h e t-test for testing the significance of effects of socio-economic factors, such as
correlation and regression coefficients was farm size, economic status, education and
applied to test the second hypothesis. T h e social participation, with the exception of
simple correlation coefficient of each of age, are highly significant.
3 Hay , D. G. "Scale for the measurement of social participatio n of rural households."
Rural Sociology, 16 ( 1 9 4 8 ) : 285-294.

266
S. N. SINGH AND S. K. REDDY
TABLE 1
ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE OF VARIOUS SOCIO-ECONOMIC VARIABLES
(**Significant at 1% level).
The differences in the average adoption average adoption indices between illiterate
index between different socio-economic and literate farmers, while there were no
categories were analysed. The results are significant differences among literate farmers
presented in table 2. It was observed that with different levels of education. It clearly
there was no significant difference between shows that while education plays an impor-
the adoption indices of low and medium tant part in making the farmers accept new
sized farms, while the differences in the practices, the level of education has not been
average adoption indices of low and large of much importance. This may be perhaps
sized farms and large and medium sized due to the fact, that most of the practices
farms were highly significant. The differences included in this study with the exception of
in the average adoption indices of low, a few, require only a little understanding
medium and large categories according to and further they were not selected on the
economic status and social participation were basis of literacy levels. Hence the data do
highly significant. Regarding education not reveal significant differences in adoption
there were highly significant differences in between different levels of education.
TABLE 2
EFFECT OF VARIOUS SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS ON ADOPTION OF IMPROVED FARM PRACTICES
**Significant at 1% level. *Signi£icant at 5% level.

ADOPTION OF IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES OF FARMERS
267
From the above findings the following
T h e results of estimating the correlation of
conclusions can be drawn regarding the first adoption with individual socio-economic
hypothesis:
factors and the relationships among the
(i) There were significant differences in factors are presented in table 3. T h e results
the average adoption index of different cate-
show that there is a highly significant a n d
gories according to farm size, economic positive correlation between adoption and
status, and social participation.
each of the socio-economic factors such as
(ii) There were significant differences in farm size, economic status, and social parti-
the average adoption index of literate and cipation. The factors of age and education
illiterate farmers. But within literate cate-
have no significant correlation with adoption.
gories there were no significant differences.
T A B L E 3
S I M P L E C O R R E L A T I O N C O E F F I C I E N T S A N D T H E I R SIGNIFICANCE
The results of estimating the partial see the contribution of each of these factors
correlation coefficients between adoption and and corresponding values (standard
socio-economic factors (farm size, economic regression coefficients) were computed to
status and social participation) are presented see which of these factors are more important.
in table 4. T h e relationships between adoption
T h e results are presented in table 4. T h e
and farm size, adoption and economic status multiple correlation value .785 is significant
and, adoption and social participation are at 1% level. It indicates that these three
positive and significant when the effects of factors together have a significant and
other two factors are kept constant.
positive relationship with adoption. T h o u g h
In order to test the hypothesis of relation-
the farm size by itself shows a significant and
ship between adoption and socio-economic positive relationship with adoption, in the
factors it was necessary to compute multiple presence of other factors it shows a negatively
correlation coefficients between adoption and significant contribution to adoption. T h e
all the three independent variables showing standard regression coefficients indicate t h a t
significant correlation with adoption. Also economic status is most important followed
regression coefficients were worked out to by social participation and farm size.
T A B L E 4
S I G N I F I C A N C E O F P A R T I A L C O R R E L A T I O N A N D REGRESSION COEFFICIENTS O F A D O P T I O N W I T H T H R E E FACTORS ( F A R M
SIZE, ECONOMIC STATUS, A N D SOCIAL P A R T I C I P A T I O N ) .

268
S. N. S I N G H AND S. K. REDDY
T h e results of multiple correlation and table farm size has shown negatively signi-
regression of adoption with farm size and ficant relationship with adoption in the
economic status are presented in table 5. presence of economic status. Standard
T h e multiple correlation value .765 is regression coefficients indicate a similar trend
significant at 1% level. As in the previous as in the previous case.
TABLE 5
S I G N I F I C A N C E O F REGRESSION COEFFICIENTS W I T H T W O FACTORS (FARM SIZE, ECONOMIC STATUS).
T h e results of multiple correlation of these two factors with adoption. Standard
adoption with economic status and social regression coefficients reveal that economic
participation are presented in table 6. status is more important than social parti-
Multiple correlation value .774 is significant cipation.
at 1% level showing a high relationship of
TABLE 6
S I G N I F I C A N C E O F REGRESSION COEFFICIENTS W I T H T W O FACTORS ( E C O N O M I C STATUS, SOCIAL P A R T I C I P A T I O N )
From the above data the following conclu-
size is 5 8 . 6 % and economic status and social
sions can be drawn regarding the second participation is 59.9% which is only slightly
hypothesis.
less than the contribution of three factors
together. It is, therefore, sufficient to use two
(i) There is a significant and positive factors, economic status and social partici-
relationship between adoption and any one pation for prediction.
of the socio-economic factors such as farm
size, economic status and social participation.
(iv) Economic status is more important
followed by social participation and farm size.
(ii) There is a significant relationship
between adoption and the three factors viz.,
SUMMARY AND C O N C L U S I O N
economic status, farm size and social parti-
T h e analysis of data showed t h a t some
cipation and their contribution is to the selected socio-economic characteristics of
extent of 61.7%.
farmers such as farm size, economic status
(iii) Any two of the three factors, with and social participation have a positively
economic status as one of them are sufficient significant relationship with adoption. It also
to bring about adoption. T h e contribution revealed t h a t the contribution of any two of
of two factors, economic status and farm these factors with economic status as one of

ADOPTION OF IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES OF FARMERS
269
them is as good as three factors taken to-
required only a little understanding on the
gether. Also there were significant differ-
part of the farmer. Therefore, while educa-
ences in the average adoption indices of tion by itself had some influence on adop-
farmers when they were classified into tion, the level of education h a d no bearing
different categories according to their socio-
as far as this sample of farmers was concerned
economic characteristics.
for the practices studied. This suggests the
importance for and need for intensive
The finding, that farm size in the presence literacy drive in rural areas. For further
of other factors shows a negatively significant studies of this nature it will be useful to
contribution to adoption, tends to suggest select practices on the basis of ease or diffi-
that financial subsidies and assistance are culty of understanding and relate it to
essential for promoting adoption of improv-
adoption.
ed practices. Also observations made
T h e implication of (a) highly significant
during field work lend support to this view. correlation between social participation and
Because, farm size by itself is not so m u c h adoption, (b) significant differences in the
as influential a factor as farm size supported average adoption between different categories
by general financial capacity to go in for new of social participation are more important.
techniques of production.
While higher socio-economic status m a y be
the cause as well as the result of adoption
T h e finding t h a t adoption is associated of improved technology in agriculture,
with large farms and better economic status social participation tends to be more a cause
has some implications for agricultural exten-
of adoption rather than the result. T h e r e -
sion work. It should serve as a pointer to fore, if efforts are made to secure more and
extension planners who should try to stratify active participation of farmers in various
the cultivators according to broad socio-
formal and informal activities, it is possible
economic groups indicating responsiveness to to get more of improved technology accepted
extension contacts and working with selected by farmers. Since efforts in the direction of
groups may then yield higher returns for improving economic conditions through land
extension effort. T h e observation that there reforms such as consolidation of unecono-
is no difference in average adoption between mic units into viable economic units, take
low and medium sized farms, while there is their own time, the extension worker can
a significant difference in the average capitalise on social participation and use it
adoption between low and large, and, as a lever to secure diffusion and adoption
medium and large sized farms requires of improved practices. Further studies of
further consideration.
this nature, which focus on whether social
T h e finding t h a t there is no significant participation is the cause or result of adop-
difference in the average adoption between tion and nature of participation of adopters
different literacy groups needs some explana-
and non-adopters will be of value to exten-
tion. It is probably concerned with the sion workers. Also there could be some
nature of the practices. T h e practices in-
interesting studies m a d e on the possible ways
cluded in this study were not selected on the in which social participation influences
basis of literacy. Most of the practices adoption.