Technical Efficiency in Smallholder Paddy Farms in Ghana: an Analysis Based on Different Farming Systems and Gender

Seidu Al-hassan


One way of achieving sustained increase in food production in developing countries is to ensure efficient utilisation of scarce agricultural resources. The present study examined farm-specific technical efficiency of smallholder rice farmers in the Upper East region of Ghana. Data were collected from a random sample of 440 smallholder rice farmers (220 irrigators and 220 non-irrigators), which comprised of 306 male farmers and 134 female rice farmers. Farm-specific technical efficiency was calculated using a transcendental logarithmic (translog) stochastic production frontier function and estimated by the maximum likelihood estimation method.  The results showed that smallholder rice farmers are technically inefficient because they produce, on average, at 34% below maximum output.  There is significant difference between mean technical efficiency for irrigators (48%) and non-irrigators (45%) as well as male (58%) and female (34%) farmers. Credit availability, family size and non-farm employment significantly determine technical efficiency of smallholders. A programme to accelerate provision of education and credit is needed in order to improve technical efficiency of rice farmers. The right kind, quantity and timely provision of credit should be emphasized. Lastly, the maintenance of existing irrigation projects and the provision of community-managed smallholder irrigation projects and rural infrastructure should be emphasized.

Key words: Technical efficiency, smallholder farms, gender, Upper East Region of Ghana.

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ISSN (Paper)2222-1700 ISSN (Online)2222-2855

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