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Technical Efficiency of Smallholder Tomato Production in Semi-Urban Farms in Cameroon: A Stochastic Frontier Production Approach

Martin Paul Jr Tabe-Ojong () and Ernest Molua ()

Journal of Management and Sustainability, 2017, vol. 7, issue 4, 27-35

Abstract: Agriculture is the mainstay of Cameroon¡¯s economy as it serves the purposes of food, livelihood and employment. Nevertheless, the country¡¯s agriculture is plagued by low productivity and inefficiency in production. One of the main reasons for low productivity is the inability of farmers to fully exploit available technologies and production techniques. An important research question that comes to mind is, what are the major factors that hinder the technical efficiency of smallholder farmers? This study thus aimed to determine the level of technical efficiency in the production of tomato in smallholder farms, relying on primary data collected using a structured survey instrument administered to 80 tomato farmers in the Buea municipality of Cameroon. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and a stochastic frontier analysis method in the Cobb-Douglas production function. The STATA.14 software was used to obtain both stochastic frontier estimates and the determinants of technical efficiency. The results indicate that farmers are not fully technically efficient with a mean technical efficiency score of 0.68 with one farmer operating on the frontier. The study also revealed that most of the farmers irrespective of the size of the holdings have shown technical inefficiency problems. The older farmers were observed with the best measures of technical efficiency. Education, age and the adoption and practice of agronomic techniques had a positive and significant influence on technical efficiency while the nearest distance to the extension agent had a rather negative influence on technical efficiency. The input-output relationship showed that the area of tomato cultivation and the quantity of improved seed used were positive and significantly related to output at the 5% level of probability. As a result, it is recommended that farmers should increase their farm size, use of improved seeds and the adoption and practice of novel techniques in production. More emphasis should be placed on extension agents as they have a significant role to play in terms of improving and augmenting farmers¡¯ education and information base through on farm demonstrations and result oriented workshops as all this will ensure increased production and productivity thereby increasing technical efficiency and achieving food self-sufficiency.

Keywords: Cobb-Douglas production function; technical efficiency; tomato; Cameroon (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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