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Analysis of Technical Efficiency in Irrigated Small-Scale Agriculture: evidence from Onion Farming in Kobo District of Amhara Region Ethiopia


The purpose of this study is to understand the extent and determinants of smallholders’ technical efficiency under drip and furrow irrigation in dry land agriculture. Stochastic production frontier model with Cobb-Douglas functional form was fitted to a random sample of drip and furrow irrigated plots to understand farmers’ technical efficiencies in onion production. The study was based on cross-sectional data collected from 200 farm households during the 2012 production year; 100 households from each type of irrigation schemes. The test result indicated that there was technical inefficiency in both irrigation schemes and the relative deviation from the frontier due to inefficiency was about 26.31 percent. The estimated mean level of technical efficiency of the traditional diversion furrow and modern drip irrigation scheme users were about 78.60 and 82.59 percent, respectively. The overall mean technical efficiency of the irrigation schemes was 73.69 percent which indicated that improvement in technical efficiency was still possible with the current available technology and without increasing the input level. The result also revealed that land related factors such as size, ownership, and fragmentation explain much of the technical inefficiencies in addition to other socio-economic characteristics of farm households. Total land size is inversely related to technical efficiency. Moreover, it was also observed that land size had a negative effect on onion yield, which signified the theory of inverse relationship between of farm size and productivity in onion production. All these imply that the labor market was still imperfect which caused households to relay on family labor. Farmers were more efficient on owned plots than leased in (in the form of sharecropping and fixed rent) plots. Tenure security played a significant role for farmers to adopt the available technologies and maximize production on irrigated farms. Land fragmentation has showed a positive effect on technical inefficiency, calling for the need to think about land consolidation at least within farms. Hence, it can be concluded that onion production could further be increased by introducing improved water application technologies like drip and sprinkler suitable for small farmers with appropriate policies aimed at creating tenure security, perfecting labor market and consolidating fragmented plots.

Corporate Author: 
Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA)
Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA)
Primary Descriptors: 

Small scale Irrigated Onion

Secondary Descriptor: 


Geographic Descriptors: 
Ethiopia, Kobo
Cataloge Date: 
Broad Subject heading: 
Irrigation - Economic Aspect
Call Number: 
330.963 PRO 2015
Serial Key Title: 
Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
Publication catagory: 
Content type: 
Publication date: 
2015-06-01 00:00:00
Conference Place: 
EEA Conference Center
Place of publication: 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of material: 
Current frequency: 
Conference date: 
July 16 to 19, 2014