Date of Award

1989

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Satish Verma

Abstract

The study was aimed at determining the relationship between two production variables--technology use, and production of export quality fruit--of small banana farmers in the Rio Grande Valley, Jamaica and selected socioeconomic, personal characteristic and opinion variables, assessing the amount of variance in production explained by the latter, and identifying variables that moderate or mediate the relationship between production variables. The target population was 120 farmers selling bananas to a public boxing plant. A random sample of non-banana farmers was used as a cross-validation check to make inferences to all farmers. Farmers were personally interviewed using a pretested schedule. Stepwise multiple regression models were generated to explain the variance in production variables, and mediating/moderating effects of selected personal characteristic, socioeconomic and opinion variables. Banana and non-banana farmers were essentially similar. Therefore, inferences could be made to both groups. Ten variables explained 46% of the variation in technology use. Four socioeconomic variables (farm size, rate of use of hired labor, rejection rates, and number of visits by extension officers), explained 60% of this variance. Farmers' use of technology also tended to increase with an increase in these variables. Four socioeconomic variables (technology use, farm size, complexity of recommended practices, and farmers' opinion of the role of extension in the farming system), explained 34% of the variation in production of export quality fruit. Farmers' use of technology tended to increase with farm size and their use of technology. Five variables (farmers' opinions about advantages of providing credit, technology, and extension, reducing the number of extension officers, and complexity of recommended practices), moderated the effect of technology use on production. Two variables (farm size and rate of use of hired labor), mediated the effect of technology use on production. Recommendations are to increase extension activity among farmers, improve the infrastructure of the valley, provide adequate credit to farmers, and redesign the job of extension agents so that more time is spent on educational activities rather than administrative duties. Interventions to modify the system should also follow a unified approach to capitalize on the synergy among interacting variables.

Pages

144

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