Technical Efficiency of Mushroom Farmers in Swaziland

Nkosingiphile P. Dlamini, Micah B. Masuku, Jeremiah I. Rugambisa


Mushrooms have been cultivated in Swaziland since 2001 as part of a long-term programme which sought to improve rural livelihoods through commercial production of non-conventional high-value commodities. Despite the mushroom enterprise gaining popularity in a number of Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, where production is dominated by rural-based small-scale farmers, limited research has been done to study the technical efficiency of mushroom farmers in Swaziland.The primary objectives of this study were to determine the level of technical efficiency of mushroom farmers in Swaziland and identify factors which influence technical efficiency of mushroom farmers. Measures of technical efficiency were conducted with 62 farmers in the four Agro ecological zones of Swaziland. The list of current mushroom farmers was obtained from the Mushroom Development Unit in Malkerns. The Stochastic frontier production function was used to compute the level of technical efficiency (TE). The results revealed that the mean technical efficiency was 95%. The results suggest that substantial gains in output can be attained by improving present technical practices which includes the increase in the amount of substrate used. A two limit Tobit regression technique was used to examine the relationship between TE and various farm and farmer characteristics. The results showed that household size was significant at 5% level, technical assistance was also significant at 5% and access to credit was significant at 10% level. It was recommended that extension officers equip farmers on technologies that will help boost their efficiency level and policies that will make access to credit from government and NGO’s for mushroom farmers to acquire resources.

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