The Sustainability Practices among Dairy Farmers - AgEcon

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The Sustainability Practices among Dairy Farmers - AgEcon

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International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development (IJAMAD)
Available online on: ISSN: 2159-5852 (Print) ISSN:2159-5860 (Online)

International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 6(1): 109-115, March, 2016.

The Sustainability Practices among Dairy Farmers: The Case of Johor

Zainab Mohd Karim 1, Nalini Arumugam 1* and Boniface Bonaventure 2

Received: 08 February 2015, Accepted: 06 June 2015
Keywords: Dairy farming, Farmers, Practices, Sustainability

Sustainability concept in agriculture is becoming widespread throughout industries in many fields even in crop production, livestock production and etc. Sustainable in agriculture is believed can give present and future good benefit to the farmers and society. However, in dairy sector in Malaysia, the sustainability concepts and practices seems not fully aware by the farmers which result in low self- sufficiency level in milk production. The self-sufficiency level in Malaysia is merely 6% and this lead to the urgency of importing more milk from other countries such as Australia, Holland and others. This study attempts to describe the descriptive thoughts on sustainability among Malaysian dairy farmers as well as describing the socio economic characteristics of the dairy farmers which will be the indicator of adoption of sustainability practices among dairy farmers. The preliminary data was collected using questionnaires through conducting face to face interviews with 50 dairy farmers from Johor. The Likerttype scale was employed to determine the practices that adopted by the dairy farmers. The gathered data was analysed using SPSS. The findings indicated that the dairy farmers had a higher understanding about the farm sustainability aspect which gives the highest mean score of 4.41. The second highest mean score is the ecological aspect which is about 4.13. The mean score for economic aspect shows the mean score about 4.00. The social aspect of sustainability revealed the lowest mean score which was about 3.46. The results indicated that the farmers favour sustainable practice is farm sustainability system. Sustainability in dairy farming sector in Malaysia can be achieved if the three elements of sustainability which is environmental, economic and social aspect were implemented and adopted in this sector.

1 School of Agriculture & Biotechnology, Faculty of Bioresource and Food Industry, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA)

2 Centre for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Agricultural Campus

* Corresponding author’s email: [email protected]


The Sustainability Practices among Dairy Farmers / Nalini Arumugam et al


ability as well as describing the socio economic

Dairy farming sector in Malaysia is considered characteristics of the dairy farmers which will

as small with the level of milk sufficiency about be the indicator of adoption of sustainability

6% but the government aim are to increase local practices among dairy farmers.

milk production in the short term as well as the

long term and to increase self-sufficiency level Literature review

To achieve this, dairy farmers need to adopt sus- Sustainability is known as the best technique

tainable practices in their farms. It is now ac- to cultivate farming which ensure the continuity of

cepted that economic development should be the practices, guarantee the economics, social of

based on the concept of sustainability and also the people and also preserved the good environ-

be environmental-friendly. Sustainable dairy ment. Sustainable agriculture are refers to tech-

farming involves protecting and improving the nique in producing food that is healthy for humans

natural environment, animal welfare and condi- and animals, which did not threat the environment,

tions of the local community, while at the same humane for workers, considered on animal wel-

time, being productive and efficient. A sustain- fare, offers good earnings for the farmers and de-

able agriculture is one that, over the long term, velops rural communities (Altieri, 1995). Another

enhances environmental quality and the resource two popular and widely used definitions of

base to provide for basic human food and fibre sustainable development are identified by

needs; is economically viable; and enhances the Van Calker et al. (2005) which are “develop-

quality of life for farmers and society as a whole. ment that meets the needs of the present without

American Society of Agronomy, (1989). The compromising the ability of future generations to

sustainability of the Malaysian agriculture sec- meet their own needs” and “development that im-

International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 6(1): 109-115, March, 2016.

tor has been on the national agenda for some proves the quality of human life while living

time with the latest thrust being the National within caring capacity of supporting ecosystems”.

Agro-food Policy (2011 – 2020). The National Generally, sustainable agriculture is defined as

Agro-food Policy programs were made as soon an approach to ensure economic, social and eco-

as the National Agriculture Policy ended by the logical sustainability. Tatlidil et al. (2009) men-

year 2010. The agenda in the programs is main- tioned that to achieve sustainability, the

tained which is to encourage the development development process should includes the three

in Malaysian agriculture sector and secure the dimensions of environment, economic and so-

food security in Malaysia. National Agro-food cial whereby the protection and effective man-

Policy (2011 – 2020) functions to carry out pre- agement of natural resources provides

vious agriculture programs such as Economic environmental sustainability, long-term employ-

Transformation Program (ETP). Most of the ment and income stability. This, in turn, will

dairy farmers in Malaysia consist of smallhold- move towards economic sustainability, and

ers. In order to improve the dairy industry in strong participation from the farming commu-

Malaysia, it is important for dairy farmers adapt- nity will thus lead to the attainment of social

ing the sustainability practices in their manage- sustainability.

ment and farm operation. Implementation of The concept of sustainability is becoming

sustainable practices in dairy should starts from widespread throughout industries in many

the farm where as the farmers should understand fields. Dairy farming is no exception and the

the concept thoroughly as they can do the prac- farming systems will have to evolve in this di-

tices effectively in the long run. Sustainable rection. However, the issues of sustainability in

practices also will lead to increase in profitabil- dairy farming or in other agricultural field did

ity and enhance food security as well as sustain- not well touch in Malaysia.

ing the ecological and social aspects. This study Given facts that Malaysia`s dairy farmers are

110 attempts to discover the determinants in sustain- both small and large scale farmers, which they

The Sustainability Practices among Dairy Farmers / Nalini Arumugam et al

may also differ in terms of skills and experi- ings that might be occurring in the process of

ences. It is supported by a study carried out by obtaining data. The Likert-like scale was used

Boniface et al. (2010) which indicated that to determine the practices that adopted by the

farmers are not homogenous but heterogeneous dairy farmers. The gathered data was analysed

in nature. So that the farmers should not be using descriptive analysis by SPSS. This data

treated equally with other farmers for they have were collected by utilizing both qualitative and

their own husbandry practices, skills and expert- quantitative methods. Focus Group Discussion

ise in operating their farm. Their awareness in (FGD) technique also was applied to gather the

sustainability practice also differ from each information on dairy farming practices from the

farmers which have different socio- economic farmers and other related stakeholders. It is an

characteristics and different way on seeking in- effective way to explore participants` percep-

formation of their decision making in their farm. tions and arguments. The participants them-

Abolhasan et al. (2010) stated that the perceived selves determine which topics they discuss in

importance of sustainability among farmers dif- depth, showing where their interest lies. Quan-

fers from farmer to farmer and is influenced by titative methods ensure high levels of reliability

socio-economic characteristics as well as infor- of the gathered data. The quantitative method

mation-seeking behavior.

ensures high levels of reliability of the gathered

Studies on acceptance of sustainable agricul- data. In this research the population sample was

ture are lacking for Malaysia. Hence, farmers in dairy farmers from Johor to provide a represen-

Malaysia did not really know what the sustain- tative of dairy farm operations in Malaysia as

ability terms itself and somehow they did not they represent various forms of marketing chan-

aware about the practices they done whether it nels and scales of operation. The sample size

International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 6(1): 109-115, March, 2016.

can sustain their farm or not. This is supported was 50 since it were estimated that there were

by Azman et al. (2013) stated that there is mass about 134 dairy farmers (DVS, 2014) in the

of international studies which found several fac- Johor state. Random sampling method was used

tors to impinge on the acceptance of sustainable in this research as it chosen because of it is con-

among farmers, but the same scenario are lack- venience and economical (Higgins, 2009). The

ing for Malaysia. Acceptance of sustainability research areas were selected based on their agri-

practices in Malaysian dairy farm is believed cultural potential, location, population density,

can improved Malaysian dairy industry as well and the extent to which the represented the

helping the farmers in dairy industry to under- socio-economic characteristics. The Statistical

stand and adopted the right practices in dairy Package for Social Science (SPSS 20.0) was

sustainability which can enhance their liveli- used to analyze the data.

hood in all aspects in sustainability.

D’ Silva et al. (2011) mentioned that accept-


ance of sustainable agriculture practices will un- Demographic profile

deniably facilitate agricultural entrepreneurs to From the Table 1, the respondents were clas-

enhance their economic and social status, and sified into six classes of aged grouped. The

thus, enable them to enjoy a better livelihood. biggest percentage was formed by group be-

tween 31-40 years old with 40%. The second


classes of 51-60 formed 22 % followed by

The data was collected using questionnaires group within age range of 41-50 with 16%. The

through conducting face to face interviews with group with age of more than 60 formed about

the 50 dairy farmers. In this research, all the 12 % while the second smallest percentage was

structured questionnaires are prepared in given by group of respondent with the range of

Malays. The purpose was to guide the interview 21-30 and the smallest percentage was 4%

with respondents to avoid any misunderstand- which refers to respondent with less than 20 111

The Sustainability Practices among Dairy Farmers / Nalini Arumugam et al Table 1: Demographic profile of respondents (n= 50)

Demographic profile


Percentage (%)





































Marital Status








No Education













Full Time



Part Time




<10 Years



11-20 Years



21-30 Years




RM 1,000- RM 2,000



RM 2,001-RM 3,000



> RM 3,001



International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 6(1): 109-115, March, 2016.

years old. From the result obtained, 50% of the 58%, the second highest group was primary farmers who involved in dairy farming were be- level with 24% while tertiary level group was tween the ages of 15 to 40 years old. In 4%. The smallest percentage was 4% with no Malaysia, people in this range of age are consid- formal education. Involvement of respondents ered as youth (Bahaman et al., 2010) Most of the was divided into two parts the full time responrespondents which are youth are willing to par- dents was higher at 84% as compared to part ticipate in dairy farming. It seems that they in- time at 16%. volved in this field are influenced by their family On experience category, 44% were involved as they inherited the farm from their parents. in dairy farming for between 10-20 years, 30%
On gender category, 86% were male and 14% with less than 10 years of experience in dairy were female. In terms of ethnicity, 80% were In- farming while the smallest percentage was 26% dian, 18% Malay and 2% were Chinese. Major- which refer to the respondent’s experience beity of respondent in this study were Indian as tween 21-30 years. The respondent with income other races like Malays and Chinese are not re- higher than RM3001 constituted the biggest perally exposed in this farming. All the Indians nor- centage at 48% while second highest were 30% mally involved in the dairy farming since by respondents with income between RM2001childhood as it is their family heritage which RM3000. The smallest percentage was income done ancestrally. In marital status category, 82% group between RM1001-RM2000 at 22%. were married while 18% were single.
The respondents were classified into four cat- Dairy farming information seeking behavior egories based on their educational background. Table 2 represent the information seeking be112 The highest group was secondary level with havior among the 50 dairy farmers surveyed.

The Sustainability Practices among Dairy Farmers / Nalini Arumugam et al Table 2: Dairy farming information seeking behavior (n= 50)

Dairy farming information seeking behavior


Percentage (%)

Technical Problem Seminars/Workshop Labour

Internet Agencies Members Others Internet Agencies Members Others Agencies Others Agencies Members Others Agencies Members Others

































This study revealed the medium that the farmers ment of Veterinary Services (DVS) and “Pusat

use in information seeking in several aspect Perkhidmatan Industri Tenusu (PPIT). It seems

such as technology in dairy farming, how to get that the farmers trust the extension officers’ abil-

capital and labours, technical problem solving ity and knowledge in every aspect in managing

International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 6(1): 109-115, March, 2016.

and also the seminars or workshops that they their farm. In aspects of technology, technical

can attend, In technology aspect, about 80% of problems and event of seminars or workshops,

farmers tend to seek information from the agen- most of them depend on the extension workers

cies, 10% on internets, 6% from members and from the agencies. However, in labour seeking

only 4% from others which was based on their aspect, they more depend to the agency which

own decision making or sometimes from their provides foreign workers as the local workers

family and relatives. For capital aspect, 56% of are hard to be obtained. Some of them seek from

the farmers seek information on capital source members’ help which were their friends and col-

from agencies, 22% from members, 18% from leagues and also from their family. Another way

others and 4% from the internet. While in tech- on seeking information is from internets. How-

nical problem aspect, most of the farmers seek ever, only few farmers who seek information

information from agencies which is about 94% through internets as they mostly depend on

and only 6% find solution on others. In category agency. The farmers who seek information from

of seminars/workshop, 90% of surveyed farmers internets mostly youth and quite educated. Some

seek information from agencies, 6% from others of the farmers still tend to do practices which

and last 4% from their members. For the last told by the parent as their family involved in

category of labour, about 70% of the farmers dairy farming for generations.

find the labour source information from the

agencies while 16% from the members and last Sustainable dairy farming

14 % from others.

From Table 3, the research findings showed

that the dairy farmers understood more about the

Dairy Farming Information Seeking Behavior farm sustainability aspect which gives the high-

From the result obtained also, we figured that est mean score of 4.41. The second highest

most of the farmers tend to seek information mean score was the ecological aspect with mean

from government agencies which is by Depart- score of 4.13. The mean score for economy as- 113

The Sustainability Practices among Dairy Farmers / Nalini Arumugam et al

Table 3: Mean score of sustainable dairy farming

Sustainability of Dairy Industry



Farming System Environmental sustainability Economic sustainability Social sustainability









pect was about 4.00. The social aspect of sus- source conservation, negative effects of agro-

tainability indicated the lowest mean score chemicals, pests' invasion arising from succes-

which is about 3.46. The results indicated that sive cultivation and have moderate attitude

the most favourable sustainable practice is farm towards the negative environmental effects of

sustainability. The dairy farmers should have in modern agricultural technologies.

depth knowledge in farm sustainability, eco- In economic sustainability aspects, the sur-

nomic sustainability, social sustainability and veyed farmers mostly have their marketing

ecological sustainability to enhance the dairy channel. They sell their milk to the cooperatives

farming industry.

(Koperasi Penternak Lembu Tenusu Negeri

Johor Bhd) that will process and markets their

Sustainable dairy farming

products. Some of the farmers sell their own

The results indicated that the most favourable milk with higher price. They believe that eco-

sustainable practice is sustainable farming sys- nomic sustainability can be achieved if the price

tems. Almost, all the farmers agreed that sus- of milk is increase. The higher price will help

tainable farming system is the essential practice them to offset the cost of production since the

International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 6(1): 109-115, March, 2016.

to be adopted to obtain more profit and reduce feed stuff cost is increasing gradually every

the cost of production. The section in sustain- year.

able farming systems comprise of basic knowl- Social sustainability gave the lowest mean

edge on farming such as suitability of breeds, score as the farmers having problems in finding

animal welfare and the management of dairy workers with good dairy working experiences

herd. Those farmers are more concern on the and willing to do the jobs. The management on

herd health, milking process and the manage- dairy herds is more complicated and need more

ment since they have been in the dairy farming working hour. Most of the farmers start their

for a long time. Result shows that most of the work in the early morning. It is because the

farmers are full time dairy farmers.

farmers need to milk their herds twice a day to

For the environmental sustainability, most of ensure higher profit and prolonged lactation

the farmers are aware about the consequences time of herds. Some of the farmers employed

of the waste management to the environmental. foreign workers to manage their farm as the

They agreed that water quality and quantity is local worker are not willing to be in this field.

an essential part in order to produce good qual- Most farmers use family labour to help in the

ity of milk. For other aspects such as odour and farming as they face difficulty in hiring external

its management, the farmers seem not applying skilled workers.

the right way in managing them. Most of the

farmers just discard the waste product to drench.


The farmers have favourable attitude toward In conclusion, on the information seeking be-

sustainable practices. They tend to adopt the haviour aspect, dairy farmers tend to seek infor-

practices that really necessary and profitable to mation and basically rely on government

them. This is supported by Bagheri (2010) agencies which are DVS and PPIT. Dairy farm-

which found that farmers had favourable atti- ers in Malaysia also more favour and adopted

114 tude towards sustainable practices such as re- the farming system aspect compared to other as-

The Sustainability Practices among Dairy Farmers / Nalini Arumugam et al

pect as it believed able to reduce the cost of production and obtain more profits in this industry. Dairy farmers nowadays also are moving towards sustainability in some aspect and it is believed to be sustaining in becoming years. Government helps in creating awareness of the importance in adopting this sustainability practices in dairy farming should help the farmers to understand sustainability concept and encourage them to adopt the practices in dairy farming. However, to achieve the sustainability in our dairy industry in full aspect, the three elements of sustainability which is environmental, economic, and social aspect should be fully implemented and adopted. Studies in dairy farming sustainability should be deepened in every aspect such as economic, social and environmental in other to find the most beneficial way to help the farmers.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The author wants to thanks Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) for providing the financial assistance and also to Department of Veterinary and Services, Milk Collection Centre for assisting throughout the study.
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International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 6(1): 109-115, March, 2016.

How to cite this article:

Mohd Karim, Z., Arumugam, N., & Bonaventure, B. (2016). The sustainability practices among dairy

farmers: the case of Johor. International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 6(1),



FarmersSustainabilityMalaysiaDairy FarmersPractices