Title page for ETD etd-07192012-181237

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Kabwe, Michael
Email mikko.kabwe@gmail.com
URN etd-07192012-181237
Document Title Assessing technical, allocative and economic efficiency of smallholder maize producers using the stochastic frontier approach in Chongwe District, Zambia
Degree MSc
Department Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development
Advisor Name Title
Dr E D Mungatana Supervisor
  • smallholder
  • parametric approach
  • efficiency
  • stochastic frontier production function
  • Chongwe
  • Zambia
Date 2012-04-24
Availability unrestricted
Smallholder farmers' efficiency has been measured by different scholars using different approaches. Both parametric and non-parametric approaches have been applied; each presenting unique results in some ways. The parametric approach uses econometric approaches to make assumptions about the error terms in the data generation process and also impose functional forms on the production functions. The nonparametric approaches neither impose any functional form nor make assumptions about the error terms. The bottom line of both approaches is to determine efficiency in production.

In this study a parametric stochastic frontier approach is used to assess technical, allocative and economic efficiency from a sample of smallholder maize producers of Chongwe District, Zambia. This approach was chosen based on the fact that production among this group of farmers varies a great deal, and so the stochastic frontier attributes part of the variations to the random errors (which reflects measurement errors and statistical noise) and farm specific efficiency. Using a Cobb-Douglas frontier production function which exhibits self dual characteristics, technical efficiency scores for the sample of the smallholder maize producers are derived. With the parameter estimates(i) obtained from the Cobb-Douglas stochastic production frontier, input prices (i) and taking advantage of the self dual characteristics of the Cobb-Douglas, a cost function is derived. This forms the basis for calculating the farmers' allocative and economic efficiency. Results obtained from the study showed considerable technical, allocative and economic inefficiencies among smallholder maize producers. Technical Efficiency (TE) estimates range from 40.6 percent to 96.53 percent with a mean efficiency of 78.19 percent, while Allocative Efficiency (AE) estimates range from 33.57 to 92.14 percent with a mean of 61.81. The mean Economic Efficiency (EE) is 47.88 percent, with a minimum being 30 percent and a maximum of 79.26 percent. The results therefore indicate that inefficiency in maize production in Chongwe District is dominated by allocative and economic inefficiency. Additionally, in the two stage regression households characteristics: age; sex; education level; occupation; years in farming; land ownership; household size; access to extension and access to credit services; are regressed against technical efficiency scores using a logit function. Results obtained shows that land ownership, access to credit services, access to extension services, land ownership and education level of up to post primary (secondary and tertiary) have a positive influence on the households' technical efficiency. On the other hand, age of the household head; female headed household and lack of education (though not statistically significant at any confidence level) have a negative influence on this group of maize producers. In a similar two stage regression, access to extension services, membership to producer organisation, access to credit and disaster experienced on the farm such as floods, drought and hail, are regressed against AE. The result shows that access to extension services, access to credit services, membership to cooperatives and natural calamities affect AE.

Results therefore show that there is a great deal of both allocative and economic inefficiency among smallholder maize farmers than there is technical inefficiency. To address these inefficiencies observed there is need to design policies that will ensure that environmental (e.g. poor land practices which lead to nutrient depletion from the soils), economic (e.g. high transport cost due to poor road infrastructure) and institutional issues (access to credit) are addressed. In other words, Government should help create credit facilities to provide affordable loans to this group of farmers. Additionally, there is need to improve extension systems to help educate farmers about better farming practices and other innovative technologies to further improve their efficiency in production. Issues of land ownership among this group of farmers needs to be addressed as this will not only raise confidence but will also ensure that their cost of production is reduced since there will be no need for payment of rental charges, and that farmers will adhere to good farming practices knowing they own title to land.

Copyright 2012, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Kabwe, M 2012, Assessing technical, allocative and economic efficiency of smallholder maize producers using the stochastic frontier approach in Chongwe District, Zambia, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07192012-181237 / >


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