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Scale efficiency of maize farmers in four agro ecological zones of Ghana: A parametric approach

Wongnaa, Camillus Abawiera, Awunyo-Vitor, Dadson
Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences 2019 v.18 no.3 pp. 275-287
Zea mays, corn, credit, crop production, cross-sectional studies, descriptive statistics, ecological zones, econometric models, economies of scale, educational status, farmers, farms, fertilizers, forests, habitat fragmentation, markets, pesticides, production costs, questionnaires, roads, seeds, Ghana
The study analyzed scale efficiency parametrically for Ghana’s smallholder maize farms. The data used was obtained through a cross-sectional survey of 576 maize farmers in the Guinea Savannah, Transition, Forest and Coastal Savannah zones of Ghana using structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and Ray’s (1998) proposed stochastic frontier analysis approach were the methods of analysis employed. The results showed that the mean scale efficiencies were 86%, 91%, 89% and 86% for the Guinea Savannah, Transition, Forest and Coastal Savannah zones respectively, indicating that generally, scale inefficiencies existed in maize farms in the four agro ecological zones. The results further showed that most maize farmers in each zone exhibit increasing returns to scale, indicating that their outputs fall below efficient levels and therefore their output could be increased for optimal scales to be reached. Finally, the results revealed that scale efficiency is explained by educational level, maize farming experience, access to good roads and ready markets, group membership, extension contact, household size, land fragmentation as well as uses of fertilizer, pesticides and improved seeds. For scale efficiency to be improved, maize farmers in the various agro ecological zones of Ghana are encouraged to employ more of the production inputs available to them. For the farmers to be able to employ more of these inputs, cost of production inputs could be subsidized and credit could be given to them by government.