Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Relationship between Attitude, Knowledge, and Support towards the Acceptance of Sustainable Agriculture among Contract Farmers in Malaysia

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Relationship between Attitude, Knowledge, and Support towards the Acceptance of Sustainable Agriculture among Contract Farmers in Malaysia

Article excerpt

Abstract

Sustainable agriculture practices are known as the best techniques by which to cultivate crops. To ensure the continuity of such practices, farmers should accept and apply this method on their yield. There is an abundance of international studies which have found that attitude, knowledge and support are the main factors to impinge on the acceptance of sustainable agriculture among farmers, but studies on the same scenario are lacking for Malaysia. Filling this research gap is the main objective of this study, which seeks to elucidate the relationship between attitude, knowledge and support towards the acceptance of sustainable agriculture among contract farmers in Malaysia. This is a quantitative study, and a total of 326 respondents were involved in the data collection process. The data were gained through a developed questionnaire. The resulting analysis proves that there is a significant relationship between contract farmers' attitudes and their acceptance of sustainable agriculture (r=0.498, p=0.00).Contract farmers' knowledge and their acceptance of sustainable agriculture are also shown to demonstrate a significant relationship (r= 0.348, 0.00).Additionally, there is support for a significant correlation between knowledge and acceptance of sustainable agriculture (r=0.365, p=0.00). In conclusion, farmers should have positive attitudes and adequate knowledge, and should obtain support from several parties to encourage them to embed sustainable agriculture within their farming practices.

Keywords: attitude, knowledge, support, acceptance, sustainable agriculture, contract farmers

1. Introduction

Malaysia is heading towards becoming a developed country. In achieving this mission, agriculture has been used as one of the catalysts. A number of efforts have been generated, nonetheless, albeit its success in developing the industry, it seems that such efforts failed to place significant impacts on farmers' socio-economic aspects particularly on their income and this is not surprising as findings of local studies have buttressed it. Shaffril et al. (2011) for example has concluded that the average income of agriculture community in Malaysia was RM669.62 (roughly equivalent to USD 220). In a study done by Terano and Mohamed (2011), farmers' income in Malaysia is still varied according to areas whereby some of them were detected to earn less than RM620 a month (roughly equivalent to USD206). Such findings are supported by recent study accomplished by Husin and Abdullah (2012), who confirmed that a total of 55% of farmers in their study were found to earn less than RM900 a month (roughly equivalent to USD 300).

Perhaps, a new strategy in increasing farmers income is needed and involving farmers in sustainable agriculture activities is seen as a vital step as there are mounting demands on its products. Sustainable agriculture refers to technique in producing food that is healthy for humans and animals, does not threat the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, offers good earnings for the farmer, and develops rural communities (Altieri, 1995). Government has supported sustainable agriculture projects via the establishment of Third National Agriculture Policy (TNAP), whereby it aims to produce sustainable farming by presenting integrated agriculture by concentrating on agroforestry, rehabilitation of marginal land and proper soil and water conservation. To achieve this, improvement on fertility of the soil shall be focused. Such effort is hugely relies on organic farming and utilization of organic matter, composting, conservation measures and production of organic fertilizers employing the existing agricultural waste in the farm (Ahmad, 2001).The establishment of TNAP has led to the emergence of a number of successful projects. One of the best examples is one conducted by Koperasi Atlet Malaysia Berhad (KAMB) and IRIS Corporation Berhad; both have cooperated in developing a model of truly communal and sustainable agricultural farming. …

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