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Participation by women and children in livestock production in Bukidnon province, Southern Philippines

D.L. Bayola1 and J.D. Intong2

Central Mindanao University, Bukidnon, Southern Philippines

Abstract

A descriptive survey conducted of 115 women and 62 children in two villages in the township of Valencia, Bukidnon province showed that women and children respondents are significantly involved in livestock production. Participation includes feeding, tethering and maintaining cleanliness of the animals. In addition, children are responsible for bringing their buffalo to the wallowing canal. Attitudes towards livestock raising and aspirations in life had significantly affected participation by women and children in the livestock industry. Both groups of respondents identified the problem of lack of pasture grass for their animals. Findings indicate that both women and children participated in the economic activity of the household. It was concluded that they should, therefore, be involved in the targeting of extension messages on livestock production.

Introduction

Involvement of rural women in agriculture in Asia is very common. Studies show that women supply labor in different operations particularly in farm decision-making (Swaminathan, 1985).

In the Philippines, 30 percent of all individuals employed in agriculture are women (Bakus, 1990). They work outside the home to support their family, and usually participate in agricultural work, supplying labor in different farming operations. But they work not only in the field, as they also keep the household running (Urbanes, 1991).

Children also serve as suppliers of labor in different operations in agriculture. The incidence of child labor in the country has been on the rise due to increasing trends in population, urbanization and poverty (Maslang, 1991). Thus, the child labor phenomenon in the Philippines elicits a need for profound and sincere examination of the peculiar conditions of the young workers in the agriculture sector.

Primarily, this study aims to understand the roles of women and children in livestock production. Specifically, it seeks to determine the extent of participation of women and children in livestock raising and the factors affecting their participation. Results of the study may help extension agents target information in order to facilitate change.

Methodology

An open-ended questionnaire was administered to 115 women and 62 children purposively selected in two villages in the township of Valencia, Bukidnon province, Southern Philippines. A list of farm families raising livestock was taken from the village head and all women and children of these families who were available at the time of the survey were included as respondents of the study. Women respondents are those female members of the farm family aged 15 and above, while children are sons/daughters of farmers aged 7 to 14 years old. Interviews were held either at home or in the street for women, while children were interviewed at home after school. Permission to enter the village was sought from the village head, while permission from parents of children was also solicited prior to the actual survey.

The questionnaire included interrogative statements on the socio-economic profile of respondents, their attitudes and aspirations, their participation in livestock production and the problems they met in this enterprise. The study was conducted in June and completed in October 2000.

Results

Results of the study include the socio-economic attributes, attitudes and aspirations of respondents, extent of their participation in livestock production, factors affecting that participation and problems met in livestock raising.

Socio-economic profile of respondents

Women respondents had mean values respectively for age of 35 years , marriage incidence of 78%, experience in livestock raising of 18 years (151 head in total), organisational membership of 37%, and incidence of elementary and/or secondary education of 75%. The source of agricultural information was self experience in half of all respondents (Table 1).

Child respondents had a mean age of 10 years old, formal education exposure of elementary or high school (75%), collectively raised a total of 82 head of livestock, and sought agricultural information from parents, friends and neighbours (Table 1).

Table 1. Socio-economic attributes of women and child respondents

Attributes

Women respondents

N=115

Children respondents

N=62

Mean age

35

10

Mean annual income

P136,000.00 (approx. US$2,833)

Nil

Membership in organisation

37%

Nil

Educational attainment

   

Elementary level

45%

84%

Secondary level

30%

16 %

Tertiary level

25%

Nil

Ethnic origin

Visayas group of islands

Visayas group of islands

Sources of agricultural information

Self

50%

50% (ask parents)

Ask friends, neighbours

30 %

27%

TV and cassette

12%

15%

Use printed materials

8%

8%

No. of livestock raised

151 total head

82 total head

Marital status - Married Single

78%

Nil

Marital status - Single

22%

100%

Livestock raising experience

18 years (cattle & buffalo)

10 years (5 years cattle, 5 years buffalo)

Attitudes and aspirations of respondents

Attitudes of respondents were measured using an instrument consisting of eight livestock production statements and seven life statements. Respondents were asked to evaluate these statements using a 5-point Likert rating scale.

Results of the survey showed women respondents agree that hard work is necessary for a successful future and that they love animals but they totally disagree to being used to raising livestock. In addition, they highly aspire to help family earn a living, assist in providing school and household needs (Table 2).

Children respondents agree that hard work is necessary for a successful future, love working with nature, that livestock raising is a good source of income and that livestock are easy to manage. They showed similar aspirations to those of women respondents (Table 2).

Table 2. Psychological attributes of women and children respondents

Attributes

Women
n=115

Children
n=62

Mean score

Mean score

Attitudes:

   

Hard work is necessary for a successful future

4.1

4.0

I love animals

3.9

2.5

I love working with nature

3.1

4.0

Livestock raising is a good source of household income

2.9

3.6

Livestock are easy to manage

2.8

3.5

The family needs help in raising livestock

2.5

3.3

I have no other job so this could occupy time

2.0

1.9

I am used to this kind of work

1.4

2.1


Aspirations:

   

I want to help my family earn a living

4.6

4.1

I want to assist in the school needs of the family

4.0

3.7

I want to help my family in providing household needs

4.0

4.0

I need to have a job

3.7

3.0

I want to know more about livestock raising

3.6

2.9

I want to become a successful raiser

2.8

2.4

I want to help pay my family’s debt

2.7

3.9

Level of participation of women and children in livestock production

Respondents were asked to rank from 1-5 (5 as the highest) concerning their participation in feeds and feeding, general care and management and in housing management and practices in livestock raising.

Results show that women respondents are moderately involved in feeding stocks, maintaining sanitation and in tethering animals inside sheds as night. On the other hand, children respondents are moderately involved in feeding stock by communal grazing and tethering, bringing buffalo to wallow, maintaining sanitation and in bringing animals to shed at night. Overall, women and children respondents had low participation in livestock production. This means that women and children are involved in only a small portion of the total work related to livestock (Table 3).

Table 3. Extent of participation by women and children in livestock raising

Activities

Women n=115

Children n=62

Mean rank

Mean rank

Feeds and feeding:

1.93

2.28

Feeding stock by tethering

2.8

2.8

Feeding stock by communal grazing

1.8

2.9

Feeding stock by cut and carry

1.9

2.4

Planting of pasture grass

1.2

1.0

General care and management:

1.41

1.36

Maintaining sanitation

3.5

3.0

Bringing buffalo to wallow in mudholes

2.5

2.9

Tethering of animals inside shed at night

2.7

2.7

Herd management

1.5

1.4

Caring for pregnant heifer

1.3

1.2

Nursing calves

1.2

1.1

Implementing quarantine

1.1

1.0

Keeping records

1.1

1.0

Diagnosing disease

1.0

1.0

Deworming

1.0

1.0

Castrating

1.0

1.0

Nose ringing

1.0

1.0

Bringing sick animals to vet

1.0

1.0

Vaccination

1.0

1.0

Branding

1.0

1.0

Housing management practices

1.2

1.0

Constructing & fencing shed

1.2

1.0

TOTAL MEAN

1.50

1.52

Factors significantly associated with participation of women and children in livestock production

Using correlation analysis, attitudes and aspirations of women and children were found to be significantly associated with involvement in livestock production. Specifically, women’s aspirations to have a job, and children’s attitude towards animals were directly related with participation in livestock production (Table 4).

Table 4. Factors significantly associated with involvement of women and children in livestock production

Factors

DF

Parameter estimates

Standard error

F-value

Prob >F

/T/

WOMEN

           

Aspiration: I need to have a job

1

0.0827

0.0229

3.624

0.0005

**

CHILDREN

           

Attitude: I love animals

1

0.4677

0.03867

4.337

0.0001

***

Aspirations: I want to know more about livestock raising


1


0.0991


0.03888


2.550


0.0156


*

*p<0.05 **p<0.005 ***p<0.0001

Factors affecting participation of women and children in livestock production: result of multiple regression analysis

Results in Table 5 reveal that attitude and aspiration were significantly associated with women and children’s involvement in livestock production. In general, 54.5% of the variation in women’s participation is affected by the variables entered in the regression equation. On the other hand, 76.7% of the variation in children’s participation in livestock raising is contributed by the variables included in the regression equation. This means that almost one-half (45.5%) and nearly one-fourth (23.3%) in the variation of women and children involvement in livestock production, respectively could be attributed to variables not included in the study.

Table 5. Factors affecting participation of women and children in livestock production

 

Variables entered

Partial R

Model R

F-value

Prob>F

 

WOMEN

       

1

Attitude: The family needs help in livestock raising

0.2703

0.2703

41.8421

0.0001

2

Aspiration: I need to have a job

0.1513

0.4216

29.2980

0.0001

3

Attitude: I have no other job to occupy my time

0.0544

0.4760

11.5199

0.0010

4

Socioeconomic: Marital status

0.0219

0.4979

4.8012

0.0305

5

Aspiration: I want to become a successful raiser

0.01322

0.5111

2.9466

0.0889

6

Aspiration: I want to assist in the school needs of the family

0.0140

0.5251

3.1856

0.0771

7

Attitude: Livestock are easy to manage

0.0140

0.5305

3.2246

0.0753

8

Socioeconomic: Annual income

0.0143

0.5449

3.3665

0.0693

 

CHILDREN

       

1

Attitude: I love animals

0.5096

0.5696

62.3530

0.0001

2

Aspiration: I want to become a successful raiser

0.1468

0.6564

25.2036

0.0001

3

Aspiration: I want to help in providing household needs

0.0752

0.7316

16.2399

0.0002

4

Socioeconomic: Ethnic origin

0.0112

0.7428

2.8126

0.0992

5

Aspiration: I want to know more about livestock raising

0.0165

0.7593

4.4065

0.0405

6

Aspiration: I want to help my family earn a living

0.0080

0.7673

2.1892

0.1449

*p>0.05 **p>0.005 ***p>0.0001

Problems met by women and children in livestock production

Respondents were asked to rate pre-determined problems related to livestock production but were given options to specify problems they met other than those enumerated in the questionnaire.

Comparably, women and children respondents met problems with lack of pasture grass; money for medicine and feeds; and lack of information on livestock production management and practices (Table 6).

Table 6. Problems met by women and children in livestock production

Problems

Women n=115

Children n=62

Mean score

Rank

Mean score

Rank

Lack of pasture grass

2.0

1

1.7

1

Lack of money to buy medicine

2.9

2

3.7

3

Lack of money to buy feeds

3.8

3

3.5

2

Lack of information

4.1

4

3.8

4

Lack of vets

4.7

5

4.0

5

Lack of shed for night-keeping

5.8

6

6.4

6

Lack of mudhole

7.1

7

7.7

7

Lack of drinking water

7.2

8

8.0

8

(1 as highest, 8 as lowest)

Discussion

High involvement of women and children in feeds and feeding of livestock

Generally, findings indicate that women and children are less involved in livestock production management activities than men. However, children are more involved in the industry than women, which could be attributed to availability of time before and after school. More specifically, women and children respondents participate highly in feeds and feeding activities compared to other activities in livestock production.

The findings suggest that women and children, as additional farm labour, are less utilized in livestock production and management. On the other hand, the findings may also suggest role classification in farm work such that animal raising tends to be more of older men’s world than that of women and children. This could be attributed to the highly muscular and strenuous activities in livestock production usually associated with men.

Women and children have complementary roles in livestock production

Findings in Table 3 indicate that both women and children respondents show a comparable level of involvement in livestock production, although children seemed to overvalue the role they play in livestock raising. This implies that both groups are suitable targets for extension messages on livestock production.

Economic needs directly affect involvement of women and children in livestock production

Low income (P136,000 per annum, approx. US$2,833), fewer number of stocks (average 1 head of livestock per respondent), positive attitude towards animals and the desire to help their families had facilitated women and children involvement in the livestock industry. Specifically, economic necessity prompted participation of women and children in animal raising. This finding is consistent with Maslang’s (1991) observation that incidence of child labour in the Philippines is increasing due to increasing population, urbanization and poverty. In addition, Castillo (1979) noted that Filipino women contribute greatly to the economic survival of the family.

Less information on livestock production

Findings of the study indicate that women and children respondents rely on self experience (50% of them use self-knowledge), parents (50% asked parents), friends and neighbours (27-30%) for information on the farm. Although women respondents may have been into livestock raising for 18 years (Table 1), the findings imply the need for more, appropriate and suitable information regarding the industry. On the other hand, involvement of women and children in the livestock industry suggests that any extension campaign and material along with this commodity should include women and children as participants.

Insufficient resources for livestock production

Findings reveal that respondents had problems with insufficient pasture grass, feed supplements and medicine necessary for their stocks. These problems may have affected involvement of women and children in livestock production. More seriously, respondents are more involved in the feeds and feeding activities than in any other activities in livestock production. Insufficient resources for livestock production pose a big challenge to the industry and affects economic benefit one could derive from animal raising. In the Philippines, this situation is more of a problem among small farms than in commercial herds (The Philippine Recommends for Carabao Production, 1992). This issue however, was not delved into specifically in the present study.

Conclusion

Extension as a communication intervention, seeks to promote voluntary change with a presumed public or collective utility. Roling (1988) stress that to be effective, extension requires targeting of processes and outcomes in its interventions. This means that agricultural information needs to be deliberately targeted at specific homogenous categories of rural people. This study looks at the role played by women and children in livestock production with the aim of identifying targets for its extension messages. Specifically, findings of the study indicate that both women and children have shown complementary roles in livestock raising. Thus, results of the study show not only the contribution of women and children in the economic activity of the family, but also their involvement in the agriculture production system particularly livestock as well as their utility as potent targets of extension program in livestock production and management.

References

  1. Bakus 1990. Women Farmers and Rural Change in Asia. Towards Access and Participation. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  2. Castillo, GT. 1979. The Changing Role of Women in Rural Societies. Summary Trends and Issues. ADC Seminar Report No. 17.
  3. Maslang, E. 1991. Child Labor in Research Gem. UP Diliman.
  4. Swaminathan, MS. 1985. Recent program on Rice Research and Implication for Training. A paper presented during the Symposium for Education and for Agriculture.IRRC, Laguna, Philippines.
  5. Philippine Recommends for Carabao Production 1992. Department of Agriculture, Philippines.
  6. Urbanes, P. 1991. Women ignored in Agricultural Farming. Animal Husbandry and Agriculture Journal 24.

1 A graduate of baccalaureate degree in Agricultural Extension at Central Mindanao University

2 Assistant professor and thesis adviser, CMU

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