Stochastic Frontier Analysis of the Technical Efficiency of Smallholder Maize Farmers in Central Province, Zambia

  •  Susan Chiona    
  •  Thomson Kalinda    
  •  Gelson Tembo    


Maize is the main staple food and cornerstone of Zambia’s agricultural economy and as such, high productivity and efficiency in its production are critical to food security and poverty reduction in the country. This paper estimates the technical efficiency of maize producers in Zambia using Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) and also determines the factors which influence technical efficiency in maize production. Primary data from 400 households in the Central Province of Zambia were used in this study. Results show that there exists opportunities to increase technical efficiency from the present level of inputs. The average technical efficiency was at 50%, with a minimum of 2% and a maximum of 84%. The distribution of the technical efficiency is such that 14% of the farmers have efficiency scores that are less than 30% while 46% of the farmers have technical scores above 50%, and 14% have technical efficiency scores above 70%. Maximum likelihood results showed that the age of a farmer, use of certified hybrid seed, access to loans and extension advice and off-farm income influence technical efficiency. The study recommends Government and other maize stakeholders to devise strategies for improving access to credit and extension services and promoting use of certified hybrid seed as a way to improve the technical efficiency of maize producers in Zambia.

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