IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economic Efficiency and Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Practices in Smallholder Maize Farming: Evidence from Ethiopia


  • Oumer, A.
  • Burton, M.


Sustainable agricultural intensification practices (SAIPs) have been promoted to improve environmental services and farm productivity. However, whether implementations of SAIPs in isolation or in combinations increase economic efficiency of smallholder farmers is unclear. This study investigates the effects of SAIPs on costs and cost efficiency using stochastic frontier modelling techniques with an application to Ethiopian maize production. The econometric approaches account for heterogeneity across farms and heteroscedasticity in the variance of cost inefficiency. The results reveal that combinations of SAIPs appear to reduce cost and cost inefficiency variability but not when they are implemented in isolation. The average cost efficiency of the sample farms was about 80% indicating the presence of considerable room for improvement. Other factors that significantly change economic inefficiency are also discussed. Overall, the results demonstrate the relevance of exploiting synergistic effects of SAIPs in the wake of ever increasing cost of fertilizer, soil degradation and climate variability and enrich the discussion regarding the need to implement a portfolio of these practices rather than in isolation. Policies should support promotion of suites of SAIPs as packages and tackle factors hindering economic efficiency to enhance food security and incomes of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Key words: cost efficiency, sustainable agricultural intensification practices, soil degradation, climate variability, stochastic cost frontier, smallholder farmers, Ethiopia Acknowledgement : We gratefully acknowledge the Australian Government through Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) for funding this research. Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and the International Wheat and Maize Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) are acknowledged for access to raw data. The Ethiopian National Meteorological Agency (ENMA) is also greatly acknowledged for access to climate data. We thank farmers, supervisors, enumerators and other technical staff and researchers from various partner institutions who contributed to the data collection process. All remaining errors are ours.

Suggested Citation

  • Oumer, A. & Burton, M., 2018. "Economic Efficiency and Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Practices in Smallholder Maize Farming: Evidence from Ethiopia," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277361, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae18:277361

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Food Security and Poverty;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:ags:iaae18:277361. 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: (AgEcon Search). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.