Technical, Economic and Allocative Efficiency among Maize and Rice Farmers under Different Land-Use Systems in East African Wetlands
Kamau, Philip N.
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East African farmers have been facing low crop productivity as indicated by low yields of major staples, maize and rice, leading to food insecurity. As a result, the respective governments have offered solutions such as the introduction of high yielding maize and rice varieties. Farmers have expanded their farms into productive areas such as wetlands in an attempt to increase output to counter the effects of climate change complications, population pressure, and the declining productivity in the upland fields. Agricultural production is done under different agricultural land-use management systems including; upland-rainfed, upland-irrigated, and wetland-only. Continuous pressure on wetlands compromises wetlands’ capacity to offer other critical ecosystem services. This calls for a need to enhance efficiency in production to strike a trade-off between food production and wetland sustainability. Productive efficiency will ensure increased output with reduced wetland degradation, especially from further drainage. The objectives of this study were to identify the determinants of productivity, assess technical, allocative, and economic efficiency under the different systems, and determine the factors influencing productive efficiency. Three wetlands (Ewaso Narok, Namulonge, and Kilombero) were purposively selected. A sample of 445 households was randomly selected using a semi-structured interview schedule in a household survey. Stochastic frontier analysis was used to analyze technical, allocative, and economic efficiency scores while a two-limit Tobit model analyzed determinants of productive efficiency. Results indicate that maize farmers under the upland-irrigated system had a relatively higher technical efficiency at 52% level. Those under the wetland-only system had the highest mean allocative efficiency and economic efficiency levels of 59% and 35% respectively. Maize farmers under upland-rainfed system could proportionally save resources up to 59% by operating on wetlands best technical efficiency frontier of 93% level. Rice farmers had technical, allocative, and economic efficiency of 59%, 72%, and 46% levels respectively. Those operating at the mean technical efficiency could have inputs saving up to 37% of the resources by operating on the wetlands best frontier of 94% level. The study concludes that the upland-irrigated system is associated with the highest maize productive efficiency and that there can be a sustainable expansion of land in rice production in Kilombero wetland. The study recommends that governments and other stakeholders should ensure interventions that guarantee agricultural extension and formal education, which are necessary for improved maize and rice productive efficiency. National and county governments should encourage sustainable maize production under the upland-irrigated system especially with subsidized alternative water sources to enhance farmers’ efficiency and sustainable agricultural production in wetlands. There should be an intervention to enable farmers to use optimal fertilizer amounts in rice production to enhance sustainable expansion of rice production with minimized degradation and drainage.