A stochastic frontier analysis of technical efficiency in smallholder maize production in Zimbabwe: The post-fast-track land reform outlook uri icon

abstract

  • This article analyses the technical efficiency of maize production in Zimbabwe's smallholder farming communities following the fast-track land reform of the year 2000 with a view of highlighting key entry points for policy. Using a randomly selected sample of 522 smallholder maize producers, a stochastic frontier production model was applied, using a linearised Cobb-Douglas production function to determine the production elasticity coefficients of inputs, technical efficiency and the determinants of efficiency. The study finds that maize output responds positively to increases in inorganic fertilisers, seed quantity, the use of labour and the area planted. The technical efficiency analysis suggests that about 90% of farmers in the sample are between 60 and 75% efficient, with an average efficiency in the sample of 65%. The significant determinants of technical efficiency were the gender of the household head, household size, frequency of extension visits, farm size and the farming region. The results imply that the average efficiency of maize production could be improved by 35% through better use of existing resources and technology. The results highlight the need for government and private sector assistance in improving efficiency by promoting access to productive resources and ensuring better and more reliable agricultural extension services.

publication date

  • 2015
  • 2015
  • 2015