Technical Efficiency of Yam Farmers in Nigeria: A Metafrontier Approach
Nigerian food producers are predominantly resource-constrained poor farmers, who are the most food insecure. It is crucial to optimize the use of the limited resources available for their performance improvement. Efficient management of the accessible resources will contribute to farmer performance enhancement. This paper investigates the technical efficiency of yam farmers and the existence of environment-technology gap among yam farmers in Nigeria. Cross sectional data was collected from 360 farmers in Nigeria in 2013. Stochastic frontier analysis was used to estimate the technical efficiency of farmers and the determinants of yam output in Nigeria. Metafrontier analysis was performed to evaluate the environment-metatechnology ratio. The stochastic frontier analysis shows that Nigerian yam farmers have a high mean technical efficiency estimate (0.86). Nevertheless, on Average, they are not fully efficient in yam production. There is room for farmers’ technical efficiency improvement in Nigeria. This investigation also indicates that yam production is affected by farm size, quantity of planting material and labour. The result of the metafrontier analysis reveals the presence of an environment-technology gap among farmers in Nigeria. Benue and Ondo States have more favourable environments for yam production. Enugu yam farmers are operating in a more restrictive environment. From this research, there are two key recommendations for yam production in Nigeria; further research is desirable in developing better technologies and farming systems suitable for yam production in the diverse environmental conditions in Nigeria, and farm-level improvements can be gained from an increase in farm size, increasing the quantity of planting material and improving the labour input (the use of labour-saving devices).
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