African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6638

Full Length Research Paper

Technical efficiency in maize production by small-scale farmers in Ga-Mothiba of Limpopo province, South Africa

R. T. Baloyi1, A. Belete1*, J. J. Hlongwane1 and M. B. Masuku2
  1Department of Agricultural Economics and Animal Production, University of Limpopo, P. Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727, South Africa. 2Department of Agricultural Economics and Management, University of Swaziland, P. O. Luyengo, Luyengo, M205, Swaziland.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 04 June 2012
  •  Published: 23 October 2012



This paper investigates the determinants of efficiency among small-scale maize producers in Ga-Mothiba of the Limpopo province in South Africa. Primary data were collected through the use of structured questionnaires from 120 maize farm households obtained in a purposive sampling procedure. Cobb-Douglas production function was used to analyse the technical efficiency. The results of the estimation showed that there were significant positive relationships between farm size and fertilizer with technical efficiency. The results of the study also revealed that there was a significant negative relationship between cost of tractor hours (the proxy for capital) and technical efficiency. The study further revealed that small-scale maize producers in Ga-Mothiba are experiencing decreasing returns to scale indicating that small-scale farmers are experiencing technical inefficiency in maize production. Therefore, the study generally suggests that government should adopt the strategy of on-farm training to small-scale farmers since these farmers mainly depend on trial and error when it comes to allocation of scarce resources such as fertilizer and seed. Moreover, farmers need to be trained on matters relating to fertilizer application, the amount of seed a farmer should apply per ha, and the importance of using hybrid seed and this definitely requires an improved extension delivery system.


Key words: Technical efficiency, maize production, small-scale farmers.