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Efficiency of Small-scale Irrigation Farmers in Northern Ghana: A Data Envelopment Analysis Approach


  • Abdulai Adams

    (Abdulai Adams (corresponding author) is at the CSIR-Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Ghana, email:

  • Bedru Balana

    (Bedru Balana is with the International Water Management Institute, Ghana, email:

  • Nicole Lefore

    (Nicole Lefore is with the International Water Management Institute, USA, email:


This study measures and explains technical efficiency (TE), economic efficiency and allocative efficiency of 110 small-scale vegetable farmers practicing various irrigation technologies for increased productivity. We employed the two-stage approach to estimate efficiency scores under constant returns to scale (CRS) and variable returns to scale (VRS) specifications. First, using a linear programming method, efficiency scores of the irrigated vegetable farmers were measured using the data envelopment analysis approach. The results show that about 27.3 per cent of the farmers currently operate on the production possibility frontier and are technically efficient, while 3.6 per cent were found to be both economically and allocatively efficient. The mean TE score for CRS was 50.6 per cent, compared with 78.1 per cent under the VRS. A Tobit regression at the second-stage analysis revealed that gender, experience, health and credit utilization have significant effects on TE. These results are valuable for stakeholders interested in promoting efficiency in smallholder irrigated production. JEL Classification: C14, C61, D24, D61, Q12

Suggested Citation

  • Abdulai Adams & Bedru Balana & Nicole Lefore, 2020. "Efficiency of Small-scale Irrigation Farmers in Northern Ghana: A Data Envelopment Analysis Approach," Margin: The Journal of Applied Economic Research, National Council of Applied Economic Research, vol. 14(3), pages 332-352, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:mareco:v:14:y:2020:i:3:p:332-352
    DOI: 10.1177/0973801020919840

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Data Envelopment Analysis; Efficiency; Irrigation; Northern Ghana; Small-scale Farmers;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets


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