keywords: Small-scale, stochastic frontier production, watermelon
The study examined technical efficiency (TE) among small-scale watermelon farmers in Uhunmwode Local Government Area Edo state, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to examine the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers, estimate the farmers’ productivity, technical efficiency and influence of farmers’ socio-economic characteristics on their TE. The data were collected with well-structured questionnaire and assisted with interview schedule. Through a simple random sampling, a sample of 100 respondents was selected in the study area. Data analysis was carried out with the use of descriptive statistics (frequency count, percentages, standard deviation) and the stochastic frontier production function through maximum likelihood estimation procedure. The result of the analysis showed mean age of 41 years, 83% were married, with mean farming experience of 4 years. Majority (97%) of the farmers had training in formal educational system, with a mean household size of 6 persons and farm size of 0.8 hectares. The regression analysis showed that the farmers were operating at an increasing return to scale. All the production factors jointly and positively correlated with farmer’s outputs; but only farm size, planting materials and depreciation that were statistically significant at 5%. Technical efficiency ranged from 0.004-0.915 with a mean value of 0.7339, an indication that the farmers were operating at about 26.6% below the frontier, which also indicated an efficiency gap. Farmer’s socio-economic characteristics contributed positively to their Technical efficiency. It is concluded that farmers should expand their scale of farming to enjoy economy of scale in production. Policies of governments should be directed at socio economic factors to enhance their TE through assistance in provision of irrigation facilities to farmers in the study area.
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