Evaluation of technical, allocative and economic efficiency of rice producers: a case study in Central River Region North & South of the Gambia

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There is a well-established growing demand for rice in the Gambia as a major staple. Prevailing prices in the global and local markets influence the ability of households to purchase rice. Demands for rice outweigh local production as only a fraction is met by domestic production. This study investigates the, technical, allocative and economic efficiency of rice farmers in the Central River Region North and Central River Region South of the Gambia. Primary data was collected for the 2013 cropping season from a sample of 200 rice farmers; 80 were selected from the North and 120 from south, but ended up using 192 completed questionnaires for analysis. A Parametric Stochastic Frontier Production Function was used to assess technical, allocative and economic efficiency of rice producers in the study area. A Cobb-Douglas frontier production function which has self-dual characteristics was used to derive technical efficiency scores for the rice producers. Constraints reported by farmers were analyzed using Kendall‟s coefficient of concordance to test for the degree of agreement in ranking. The results of the study revealed that farm size, labour and fertilizer have a significant effect on increasing farmer‟s efficiency. Results have revealed that there is a significant level of inefficiency among rice producers as illustrated by the coefficients. Technical efficiency estimates range from 0.90 percent to 93.30 percent with a mean efficiency of 65.03 percent, while Allocative efficiency estimates range from 1.10 percent to 93.50 percent with a mean of 67.47 percent. The mean economic efficiency VII was found to be 47.76 percent. This suggests that there is considerable room for improvement in increasing rice productivity through better use of available resources and existing technology. The study also showed that increase in farmer‟s subscription to cooperative membership, improved rice variety adoption and the improvement of irrigation facilities may reduce overall inefficiency among rice farmers in the study area. Constraints faced by rice farmers were ranked based on abiotic, biotic and socioeconomic factors. The study revealed that a soil related factor (salinity) was ranked as the most important abiotic factor, diseases were ranked as the most important biotic factor and limited land size and its related tenure issues were considered to be the most important socioeconomic constraint. This study therefore recommends that policies that would improve access to fertilizer, irrigation schemes, improved rice varieties and formation of farmer‟s cooperatives should be pursued.
A thesis Submitted to the Department of Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness and Extension, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master Of Philosophy In Agricultural Economics.