ASSESSMENT OF TECHNICAL EFFICIENCY OF OPEN FIELD PRODUCTION IN KIAMBU COUNTY, KENYA (STOCHASTIC FRONTIER APPROACH)
Keywords:technical efficiency, Cobb – Douglas production function, open tomato production
The study conducted an estimate of the mean technical efficiency and the determinants of technical efficiency for the open field tomato farmers in Kiambu, Kenya. A multistage sampling technique was used to draw a sample of 75 respondents who participated in the study. The method of analysis used was a two stage approach; a Cobb Douglas stochastic frontier analysis and a Tobit regression to compute the mean technical efficiency and determine factors influencing technical efficiency respectively. All the analyses were computed using Stata versions 13. Results indicated a mean technical efficiency of 65 percent ranging from 26.7 percent to 96.3 percent implying that there is room to increase efficiency by 35 percent. Education, family size and experience positively influenced technical efficiency while gender and farm size had a negative significant influence. The study demonstrated that farmers had a lower level of experience (5 years) and education (9 years) as compared to the national and other local areas within the country despite their positive significant influence on technical efficiency. The implication from the study findings is that greater attention should be paid towards farmer training to enhance their knowledge and farming experience with regard to tomatoes. A few farmers had received credit (16%), extension (14%) and agriculture support facilities (8%). Extension is very important as it bridges the gap between researchers and farmers whereas credit access enables farmers to buy farming inputs like fertilizers. Investments in farmer education without appropriate dissemination techniques may not cause any impacts. The study therefore recommends that accessibility to these services be enhanced.