Technical Efficiency of Small-scale Maize Producers in Benin

Given the importance of maize as a food crop in Benin and the objectives of the country regarding this product in terms of food security and exports, a study on maize production is of primary importance. This study aims to analyze the way small-scale maize producers allocate their production factors and to identify the elements that are inherent to an efficient maize farming operation. The Cobb-Douglas Stochastic Frontier approach is used to estimate the level of technical efficiency of maize growers. The mean score in technical efficiency in maize production in the sample used is estimated at 65.40%, with a minimum of 20.47% and a maximum of 93.46%. The results indicate that the sex of the farmer, use of enhanced seeds, selling price of maize, percentage share of non-agricultural income, contact with an NGO, access to finance, and production zone play a positive and significant role in the attainment of a production frontier. The results lead us to recommend that the government reduces its expenditure on agricultural extension services and instead emphasize the policy on distribution of improved seeds. Equally, constraints in the capital and labour markets contribute to the low efficiency of agricultural households.