Stochastic production function and technical efficiency of maize farms in southern agricultural zone of Nasarawa State Nigeria
Maize production in Nigeria, particularly in the Southern part of Nasarawa Sate is characterized by low yield often attributed to poor farm-resource productivity and inefficiency in resource utilization. Any policy attempt at meeting the ever growing domestic demand for maize as food and raw material, must be anchored on the sound knowledge of output-inputs relationship and efficiency in farm-resource management. Therefore, this study is designed to estimate technical relationship between inputs-output in maize production and determine technical efficiency of maize farms in Southern Agricultural Zone of Nasarawa State. Multi- stage sampling technique was employed to select 120 maize farmers. Data collected were based on 2016 cropping season. Descriptive statistics and stochastic frontier functions were employed for the analysis. The results show that variables significantly influencing maize output in the study area were farm size, labour, herbicide and fertilizer. Majority of the farmers operated at 85% efficiency level. The determinants of technical efficiency among maize farmers were level of education and years of farming (farming experience). Thus, on the average, maize farmers require 15% efficiency enhancing technology to attain the status of the most efficient farmer. It is recommended that for greater output of maize, farm size, herbicide, labour and fertilizer use should be increased at least by 1%; since farms in the area were operating at increasing return to scale. Similarly, to ensure improvement in the efficiency of on-farm resource management, effort should be intensified in the provision of education to farmers; since education of the farmers tend to reduce significantly the inefficiency in maize farms.