Technical efficiency of maize-based farm irrigators in the Eastern Cape province

a stochastic frontier model approach


Maize production is the most important field crop in South Africa produced from ancient years, Mpumalanga and North West Provinces being principal producers. Maize is extensively produced and ascendancy ground crop because maize is greater resilient, less labor exhaustive, rich in food strength and starches, grows actual fast, and easy to produce as other ground crops. Most of the produced maize in South African is consumed domestically. Despite massive extents of arable land and all-inclusive land reform implemented for 25 years, farmers in the former homeland areas of South Africa cultivate only small food plots where they grow mostly maize and a small variety of vegetables. The aim of this paper was to examine the technical efficiency of maize-based farmers who farm within smallholder irrigation schemes. A multi-stage sampling procedure was used to select 120 maize-based irrigation farmers. Descriptive statistics and stochastic production frontier models were used in the study. Maize production in the study area was dominated by males (78%) with an average age of 60 years and an average family size of 4 people in the household.  Smallholder irrigators have primary education meaning farmers were literate and able to access farming information and interpret it. Farmers have a minimum average of 10 years of farming experience. Smallholder maize-based farmers were efficient in using their resources given their high farm productivity. The level of technical efficiency for maize farming was 84% which indicates that 16% of maize yield was not realized by smallholder maize farmers in the study area. The study recommends that the government and private sector must improve the farm techniques such as manure and enhanced seeds prepared early and accessible at small and affordable expenses to upsurge maize productivity.


Eastern Cape Province; smallholder maize-based farmers; stochastic frontier analysis; technical efficiency

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Published : 2021-12-28

Mdoda, L., Obi, A., Christian, M., & Jiba, P. (2021). Technical efficiency of maize-based farm irrigators in the Eastern Cape province. Journal of Agribusiness and Rural Development, 62(4), 371–381.

Lelethu Mdoda
University of Fort Hare  South Africa
Ajuruchukwu Obi 
Mzuyanda Christian 
Tshwane University of Technology: Pretoria, ZA  South Africa
Phiwe Jiba

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