Technical efficiency differentials in rice production technologies in Nigeria
The Nigerian rice sector is special within the West Africa context. First, rice is primarily a cash crop in Nigeria (produced primarily for the market). Therefore,in rice producing areas, the enterprise provides employment for more than 80% of the inhabitants in various activities along the production/distribution chain from cultivation to consumption. Some remarkable developments have also taken place in the sector particularly in the last ten years. Both production and consumption have increased during the period, although the increased production was not sufficient to match the consumption increase, with rice imports making up the shortfall. Because rice is now a structural component of the Nigerian diet and rice imports make an important share of Nigerian agricultural imports, there is considerable political interest in increasing the consumption of local rice. This has made rice a highly political commodity in Nigeria. Despite the importance of Nigerian rice production even within the West African subregion, comprehensive and up-to-date information about the level of resource use efficiencies of the farmers is still lacking. The few available studies were either system based or location specific. Moreover, most of these studies focused primarily on the profitability of the enterprise, without in-depth enquiry into efficiencies of farmers and factors that determine their levels of efficiency. To address that gap, this study was designed to determine technical efficiency in rice production in Nigeria, covering the two major rice ecologies in the country (upland and lowland rainfed ecologies). The technology issue was also a factor in capturing the differentials in technical efficiency between farmers planting improved rice varieties and those planting traditional varieties.
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