FARMERS’ KNOWLEDGE LEVEL AND READINESS IN ADOPTION OF DRAGON FRUIT (Hylocereus sp.) IN CHITWAN DISTRICT, NEPAL
Aayush Raj Dhakal, Bishal Mahatara, Sovit Parajuli, Srijan Budhathoki, Sandip Paudel, Sudip Regmi
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Dragon fruit is a new commodity in case of Nepal and any new commodity itself comes with a lot of challenges as well as opportunities. Before rapid commercialization of any commodity, the perception of the farmers regarding the commodity and the knowledge level of the farmers regarding the commodity must be known. Only after identifying the perception of the farmers and underlying problems of the adoption, strategies can be adopted accordingly to solve the problems and uplift the crop. Knowledge level of the farmers regarding Dragon fruit and their readiness in adoption was studied along with it hinderance factors for the adoption of the crop was also identified. Farmers under the pocket area of Dragon fruit formed by the PMAMP, Nepal were taken into the study who hadn’t adopted the crop till date. Knowledge index was used to calculate the knowledge level of the farmers regarding the crop and 5-point Likert scale was used for analyzing the readiness level of the farmers towards the adoption of the crop. Majority of the farmers were found to have very poor knowledge level i.e., 66.67% of the farmers whereas 28.34% had fair knowledge level and only 5% had good knowledge level regarding various aspects of the crop. Correlating with the knowledge index was the readiness level with only 31.67% of the farmers being above the threshold readiness level. Finally, while opting out the hinderance factors of the adoption of the crop, lack of promising market, high cost of cultivation, lack of proper knowledge and training were found to be major problems ranked as first, second and third respectively. This study points out the huge requirement of improvement in the sector of market security, insurance policies, credit interventions, government subsidies, training programs and involvement of extension workers.