Production frontier of small scale pearl millet farmers under conservation agriculture in northern Namibia

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Namibia University of Science and Technology


Pearl millet is a major staple food crop of Northern Namibia dominantly produced by small scale farmers. This paper examines technical efficiency of smallholder pearl millet farmers under Conservation and Traditional Agriculture as well as their willingness to pay for extension services. The data was collected using a structured questionnaire administrated to 100 randomly selected small-scale pearl millet farmers in Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana and Kavango regions. Data was analysed by descriptive statistics, stochastic frontier production function approach as well as the probit regression model. The estimated stochastic frontier Cobb- Douglas production function showed that land availability, the level of fertilizer use and tractor power explains variations in the production of pearl millet. The efficiency analysis results show that farm level technical efficiency for Conservation Agriculture and Traditional Agriculture were 32% and 33% respectively. This indicates that overall, there is a potential to improve efficiency in pearl millet production among smallholder farmers in the study area by 68% through the efficient use of Conservation Agriculture. Furthermore, on Traditional Agriculture, there is a potential to improve efficiency by about 67% utilising existing farm resources better and adopting improved technology and techniques. Based on this result, the study recommends that Conservation Agriculture should be continued and over a long period of time so that the impact can be felt. The results of the inefficiency model indicate that under Conservation Agriculture, farming experience has a significant positive effect on efficiency. While on Traditional Agriculture, farm experience, farm size, training had a significant and positive effect on efficiency. The policy implications with regards to the technical efficiency are that to improve farm efficiency, efforts should focus on capacity building, training, extension services, information on agronomic practices and farmer’s education. On farmer’s willingness to pay for extension services, the predicted probability of getting farmers willing to pay is 60%. The model showed that farm size, Income < 2000, cooperative membership and household size are significant determinants of farmers’ willingness to pay. The study recommends that these key parameters are given proper policy consideration in the design and the implementation of a workable policy, for example, improving extension services through privatization.



Technical efficiency, Willingness to pay, Conservation Agriculture, Pearl millet


Montle, B.P. (2016).Production frontier of small scale pearl millet farmers under conservation agriculture in northern Namibia. [Unpublished Masters Thesis]. Namibia University of Science and Technology.