Technical efficiency and returns to scale among smallholder cassava farmers in Owerri West LGA of Imo State, Nigeria
This study investigated the technical efficiency and return to scale among smallholder cassava farmers in Owerri West Local Government area of Imo State. Purposive and random sampling techniques were used to select 80 respondents used in the study. Primary data was collected with the use of a well-structured questionnaire and analyzed with both descriptive and inferential statistical tools. The result of the study revealed that majority of the farmers (80%) were males, young and active with mean age of 42 years. About 60% were married, 96.2% of who were literate and on the average had spent 23 years in farming. It was also observed that the farmers had an average household size of 8 members and were mainly smallholder farmers with farm size of 1-2 hectares of land. The result also showed that cassava cuttings had the highest coefficient (0.94) followed by herbicides (0.12) and were highly significant at 1% level and farm size (0.02) and fertilizer(0.06) at 1% alpha level. The result also showed that many of farmers (55%) operated within the technical efficiency range of 0.95-0.99. The elasticity of production of the smallholder cassava farmers was 1.08 indicating increasing returns to scale. The study calls for policies aimed at encouraging education on farm management practices to enable farmers allocate production resources more efficiently for optimum yield. Farmers are also advised to form cooperatives to enable them pull resources together for enhanced economics of scale.
Keywords: Technical Efficiency, Stochastic Frontier Production Function, and Smallholder Cassava