Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture No. 2/06

Cropping system, technical efficiency and policy options: a stochastic frontier analysis of Nigerian small-scale farmers

Igbekele A. Ajibefun
Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria


Questions are being raised about the ability of Nigerian small-scale farmers to meet the challenges of increasing food demand, given that these farmers, who constitute over 90% of the farming population, depend on traditional cropping system. This study was carried out to empirically determine the influence of cropping systems and farmers’ socio-economic factors on their technical efficiency and policy options available for raising the current level of efficiency of the farmers. Using the stochastic frontier production function, data collected on 200 small-scale food crop farmers were analyzed. The production technology of the farmers was modeled on the basis of the cropping systems adopted. The results show that farmers under mono cropping system have higher variability in farm income than farmers under multiple cropping system. The hypothesis of constant returns-to-scale cannot be rejected for all the farm categories. The results however show that the mono croppers are more technically efficient, with mean technical efficiency varying from 0.70 to 0.76, while multiple croppers have a mean technical efficiency of 0.53. The study shows that education; farming experience; credit; age and family size have significant influences on the level of technical efficiency of farmers under different cropping systems. The results of test of hypothesis show that the mean technical efficiency of farmers under pure stand is significantly greater than the mean technical efficiency of farmers under multiple cropping system.

Keywords: cropping system, technical efficiency, small-scale farmers, policy options, Nigeria

JEL: Q 12, Q 18, Q 19

Vol. 45 (2006), No. 2: 145-169