Attitudes and preferences of traditional farmers toward reproductive biotechnology application for improved indigenous pig production in Zambia

Background and Aim: Pig production remains crucial to the livelihood of farmers in Zambia. However, low production continues to undermine efforts to reduce animal protein deficit; hence, the need emerges to improve production through biotechnology. To contribute to the prediction of their acceptance, this study assessed the attitudes and preferences of traditional farmers toward reproductive biotechnologies by exploring the socio-demographic characteristics of farmers. Materials and Methods: The study conducted a cross-sectional descriptive survey that employed a mixed-methods design with a qualitative-quantitative methodological triangulation. Quantitative data were obtained from 622 respondents using a questionnaire, whereas seven focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted to obtain qualitative data. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were used to analyze quantitative and qualitative data, respectively. Results: The majority (65.1%) of the respondents were low-income earners who mainly (64.8%) attained primary education. In addition, pig farming was dominated by middle-aged (43.7%) and elderly (40.7%) individuals. Moreover, most of the respondents owned (51.3% and 78.0%) more than 2 acres and six pigs, respectively. Furthermore, the respondents expressed a positive attitude (3.84±0.42) toward reproductive biotechnology application. However, despite supportive opinions (4.17±0.54) and favorable behavioral intentions (4.09±0.51), their feelings were generally neutral (3.10±0.89). In addition, the study observed various contrasting attitudes across socio-demographic factors. The respondents mainly preferred artificial insemination (AI; 66.2%). The results of the FGDs supported the survey findings. Nevertheless, the lack of information, knowledge and practical exposure, absence of peer influence, perceived beliefs and risks, poverty situations, and gender issues were pinpointed as the identified barriers to the biotechnology acceptance of the participants. Conclusion: The respondents generally supported reproductive biotechnology application and its contribution to improved production. However, further promotion of the favorable attitudes of the farmers will be required. In this case, interventions sensitive to their socio-demographic characteristics, perceived barriers, and identified contributing factors to favorable attitudes will be crucial. In addition, despite the overwhelming preference for AI, efforts to promote AI-supporting reproductive technologies are required because they contribute to AI success rate.
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Southern Africa
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