IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Profit efficiency of small- and medium-scale maize milling enterprises in South Africa


  • Orefi Abu
  • Johann Kirsten


Despite the reported large margins between producer prices for maize and retail prices for maize meal and the fact that maize meal is a staple food for most of the South African population, there have been only limited investments in small- and medium-scale maize milling in South Africa since the deregulation of the maize markets. The apparent failure of small- and medium-scale maize millers to emerge and compete effectively in the maize milling industry in South Africa raises questions about their scale and level of efficiency. Against this background, this paper analyses the profit efficiency of these enterprises, using a translog stochastic profit frontier model. Findings from the profit efficiency analysis show an average profit efficiency score of 80.6 per cent for the small-scale mills and 87.4 per cent for the medium-scale mills. There is therefore a significant unexplored potential in these categories of mills.

Suggested Citation

  • Orefi Abu & Johann Kirsten, 2009. "Profit efficiency of small- and medium-scale maize milling enterprises in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(3), pages 353-368.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:26:y:2009:i:3:p:353-368
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350903086663

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Traub, Lulama Ndibongo & Jayne, Thomas S., 2006. "Opportunities to Improve Household Food Security Through Promoting Informal Maize Marketing Channels: Experience from Eastern Cape Province, South Africa," Food Security International Development Working Papers 54568, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    2. Abdulai, Awudu & Huffman, Wallace, 1998. "An Examination of Profit Inefficiency of Rice Farmers in Northern Ghana," Staff General Research Papers Archive 1380, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Traub, Lulama Ndibongo & Jayne, Thomas S., 2004. "The Effects of Market Reform on Maize Marketing Margins in South Africa," Food Security International Development Working Papers 54570, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    4. Haddad, Mona, 1993. "How trade liberalization affected productivity in Morocco," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1096, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Temesgen Tadesse Deressa, 2011. "Effects of climatic conditions and agro-ecological settings on the productive efficiencies of small-holder farmers in Ethopia," Working Papers 223, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    2. Mugabe, Douglas & Etienne, Xiaoli L., 2016. "How Efficient Is Maize Production among Smallholder Farmers in Zimbabwe?," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235938, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:26:y:2009:i:3:p:353-368. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.