Determinants and Change in Total Factor Productivity of Smallholder Maize Production in Southern Zambia

  •  Moses Mumba    
  •  Abdi-Khalil Edriss    


Smallholder maize production in Zambia has been characterised by low productivity despite concerted efforts at improving the situation as is evident in budgetary allocations to programmes such as the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). The study assessed if there was a change in total factor productivity (TFP) in smallholder maize production in Southern Province of Zambia between the 2010/11 and 2013/14 agricultural seasons. Using a balanced panel of 778 smallholder farmers, a Stochastic Frontier Analysis was used to estimate the Malmquist Productivity Index (MPI) in measuring the productivity change in maize production. The change in TFP was further decomposed into its components, efficiency change (EC) and technical change (TC) so as to understand more on the change in productivity. It was found that over the period of study, the mean EC was 0.8734, implying that technical efficiency (TE) had declined by 12.7 % with the mean TFP of 0.9401, indicating that over the study period TFP had fallen by 5.99 %. The results further showed that the age of the farmer, education of the farmer, household size, membership to a farmer organization, ownership of cattle, access to credit, and drought stress were significant (ρ<0.05) factors in explaining TFP. In light of the findings, some recommendations were made for policy including the need to facilitate farmers’ access to credit, sensitize farmers on the benefits of belonging to farmer organizations, on ownership of livestock such as cattle and for massive investment in irrigation infrastructure.

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