Improving farm practices and productivity through training needs assessment of sugarcane farmers: the case of Davao Mill District, the Philippines
The need to improve the farm practices and productivity in the Davao mill district was examined through Training Need Assessment. The aim is to develop a well-designed and need-based training program for its sugarcane farmers. A two-stage stratified random sampling technique was employed to select 112 respondents. A well-structured questionnaire was used and data were analyzed using Likert Scale and multiple regression analysis. The areas of training needs identified for sugarcane production were on the application/computation of chemical fertilizer, soil fertility management, selection of varieties, seizing fertilization and irrigation before harvesting, managing disease control and designing a weed control program. The information on the processing of sugar, the current situation of the sugarcane industry in the domestic and world markets, and farm plan and budgeting were also identified. For other crop production, the training needs were on swine, corn production and poultry raising. Farmers also need training on product quality and packaging and marketing for muscovado, vinegar and wine making for their source of livelihood. The relational analysis showed a positive and significant relationship between age and access to high yielding varieties with training needs expressed by the farmers on sugarcane production. Training could be more effective by targeting older farmers as they seemed to be more receptive to technology although young farmers also need to be trained due to succession in sugarcane farming. The study recommends to assess the interventions given to the Davao MDDC particularly the nursery farms under the Rapid Propagation and Distribution Program of SRA especially on the accessibility of HYV seeds. It also recommends for SRA and the Davao MDDC to increase extension contact and develop training modules and re-orient training schedules with training needs expressed by the farmers to improve the farm practices and productivity in the study area.
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