Technical efficiency in rice ecologies of north central Nigeria: Implications for national self-sufficiency
The quest for national self-sufficiency in rice production in Nigeria has been on for several years, with various government regimes putting different policies and programs in place in order to achieve this. A large proportion of the rice produced in Nigeria comes from the north central part, with Niger State being the second largest rice producing state in north central Nigeria. The study was carried out to examine the technical efficiency and its determinants within the rice ecologies in north central Nigeria. Through the multi-stage sampling technique, one hundred and fiftyone farmers were sampled for the study. Two mini-ecologies were identified within the lowland rice ecology in the study area, namely, River Basin Authority Catchment area (RBAC) and Non River Basin Authority Catchment area (NRBAC). Differentials in rice output were determined with the Chow test while the stochastic frontier production approach was employed to determine the technical efficiency on the individual farms. There were variations in output between the mini-ecologies, while rice output was significantly influenced by farm size, quantities of fertilisers, labour and herbicides used in rice production. Average technical efficiency measures were 70.9 and 93.6% for the identified mini-ecologies namely River Basin Authority Catchment area (RBAC) and Non River Basin Authority Catchment area (NRBAC). Variables such as extension visits and level of commercialisation had significant effects on the observed variations in technical efficiency among the rice farmers. Results indicate that there is a considerable scope for increased efficiency to meet current national rice demand.
Keywords: Output differential, Stochastic frontier production
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