As rice develops from sowing to harvesting stages require a combination of both natural and non-natural inputs. Thus, at every stage, specific proportions are demanded as aggregates which contribute to the final yields. Understanding these inputs and their impacts on rice yield will help the small scale rice farmers in Tanzania to boost rice yields. This study pursues to (i) characterize rice farmers’ in Mbeya Region of Tanzania; (ii) estimate parameters for factors affecting rice along the phenological stages and their influences on growth and yield; and (iii) disclose the perceived factors affecting rice production. Data collected through structured questionnaires, interviews and focus discussions. Data analyses were done by descriptive statistics, Garret ranking techniques, and the Translog Cobb Douglas (CD) model. The descriptive results indicated majority of respondents had ages between 45 and 50 years; only 3% of respondents had informal education and 80% of them own farm size of from 1 to 3 acres. Empirical results show that labour, fertilizer, seeds quantity, pesticide cost, floods, and sunshine duration significantly influenced rice yield. Rainfall was the most influential factors as perceived by farmers. Based on these current findings, suggestions were provided to the responsible policymakers to work on utilizing the potential available from the identified major influential factors to increase farmers' income and increase food security.
Key words: Inputs, rice, growth stage, Cobb Douglass, Mbeya.
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