The Effect of Training on Cattle Farmers’ Productivity and Efficiency: A Case of Kunene region, Namibia

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Namibia University of Science and Technology


Despite the importance of cattle and the enormous economic contribution to the country, communal cattle farmers seldom earn increased return on investment because of their adherence to their traditional system of farming. Such as outdated animal husbandry practices, high stocking rate, high breeding ratio or no bull in the herd and the sale of old stock (10 years and above) instead of younger cattle (heifers and tollies) that have potential to fetch premium price from the market. The use of traditional animal husbandry practice is due to the lack of appropriate farming knowledge and skills. Sometimes, there are financial limitations to source required production inputs that can enhance productivity and efficiency. Therefore, this impact not only on farmer’s sustainability but on meat supply in the country. However, this compromises the country’s food security agenda. To this end, Developmental projects funded by Germany Government (GIZ) and Agribank of Namibia amongst others have implemented capacity building for farmers to complement the Directorate of Agricultural Production Engineering and Extension Services (DAPEES). The project aim was to enhance farmer’s skills and knowledge to enable them to upscale their farm productivity and efficiency as well as strengthen their capacity to withstand climate change challenges (E.g. drought). Thus, this study investigates whether training intervention improved farm productivity and efficiency and identify ways in which the cattle farmers can improve. The study shows that a significant number of cattle farmers that received training adopted the best cattle husbandry practices such as appropriate tagging, castration, proper deworming and vaccination amongst others. Thus, the result shows that the calving percentage and offtake rate (number of heads sold per annum) for trained farmers exceed that of their peers (untrained farmers). This paper used a treatment effect model to determine the causal relationship between training and farm productivity. Estimators such as Regression Adjustment (RA), Inverse‐Probability Weighted (IPW) regression, the Augmented Inverse Propensity Weighted (AIPW) estimator and Inverse Probability Weighted Regression Adjustment (IPWRA) estimator were used to estimate the treatment effects of training on offtake rate). Estimation was based on survey data obtained by interviewing 212 cattle farmers from various districts of Kunene Region, Namibia. One treatment level used for this study was training (Treatment is coded as one if a farmer is trained, zero otherwise). The result shows that farmers who were trained had Potential Outcome Mean (POM) sales of 176 cattle per annum compared to the untrained farmers who had a POM of 92 cattle. In addition, a Stochastic Frontier Analysis model (SFA) was fit to determine the factors that contribute to inefficiencies in cattle production. The study shows that as farmers get older, they get more experience and efficient in cattle production. However, farm type (full time or part‐time) and family size also reduce inefficiencies in cattle production. This was attributed to the fact that; full‐time farmers spend more time on the farm and could closely supervise and monitor their farming enterprises. In addition, large household size tends to complete farm activities on time using less man/days. The constant return to scale was as well determined using capital and labour as factors of production. However, for labour, it was accepted, and reject that of capital (capital invested in production cost) as the coefficient for capital is less than one. This could be attributed to the multi‐purpose of farming observed in Kunene region other than for commercial reasons. Thus, family members are utilised as farmworkers, and farmers do not attach value/cost to this factor of production. Thus, farm capital could be used for other personal reasons, other than just production. Overall, the study found that as farmers age, they get more experienced, and become more productive and efficient in their cattle production ceteris paribus.



Training, cattle farmers, productivity, efficiency, treatment effect, production frontier.


Abraham, E.M.(2020). The Effect of Training on Cattle Farmers’ Productivity and Efficiency: A Case of Kunene region, Namibia. [Unpublished Master's thesis]. Namibia University of Science and Technology.