Agricultural Technical Efficiency of Smallholder Farmers in Ethiopia: A Stochastic Frontier Approach | Land Portal

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March 2021
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© 2021 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

In the past decade, to improve crop production and productivity, Ethiopia has embarked on an ambitious irrigation farming expansion program and has introduced new large- and small-scale irrigation initiatives. However, in Ethiopia, poverty remains a challenge, and crop productivity per unit area of land is very low. Literature on the technical efficiency (TE) of large-scale and small-scale irrigation user farmers as compared to the non-user farmers in Ethiopia is also limited. Investigating smallholder farmers’ TE level and its principal determinants is very important to increase crop production and productivity and to improve smallholder farmers’ livelihood and food security. Using 1026 household-level cross-section data, this study adopts a technology flexible stochastic frontier approach to examine agricultural TE of large-scale irrigation users, small-scale irrigation users and non-user farmers in Ethiopia. The results indicate that, due to poor extension services and old-style agronomic practices, the mean TE of farmers is very low (44.33%), implying that there is a wider room for increasing crop production in the study areas through increasing the TE of smallholder farmers without additional investment in novel agricultural technologies. Results also show that large-scale irrigation user farmers (21.05%) are less technically efficient than small-scale irrigation user farmers (60.29%). However, improving irrigation infrastructure shifts the frontier up and has a positive impact on smallholder farmers’ output.

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Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Zewdie, Markose C.
Moretti, Michele
Tenessa, Daregot B.
Ayele, Zemen A.
Nyssen, Jan
Tsegaye, Enyew A.
Minale, Amare S.
Van Passel, Steven


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