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The effect of land fragmentation on the productivity and technical efficiency of smallholder maize farms in Southern Rwanda


par Karangwa Mathias
Makerere University - M.sc Agricultural and Applied Economics; Bachelors in Economics(Money and Banking) 2007
Dans la categorie: Economie et Finance
   
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THE EFFECT OF LAND FRAGMENTATION ON THE PRODUCTIVITY AND TECHNICAL EFFICIENCY OF SMALLHOLDER MAIZE FARMS IN SOUTHERN RWANDA

BY

KARANGWA MATHIAS, B.A Economics (National University of Rwanda)

A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL FOR THE AWARD OF A DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN AGRICULTURAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS OF MAKERERE UNIVERSITY

SEPTEMBER 2010

DECLARATION

I, Mathias Karangwa, hereby declare that this thesis is my original work and has never been submitted to any other academic institution for the award of a degree.

Mathias Karangwa ..............................................................

This thesis has been submitted to the school of graduate studies of MAKERERE UNIVERSITY with the approval of the following supervisors:

Dr. Fredrick Bagamba PhD (Agricultural Economics)............................

Date.............................................................

Dr. Bernard Bashaasha PhD (Agricultural Economics)...........................

Date...........................................................

(c) MAKERERE UNIVERSITY

DEDICATION

This thesis is dedicated to my late mother, Rose Buhinja

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I primarily acknowledge my Supervisors, Dr. Fredrick Bagamba and Dr. Bernard Bashaasha for their friendly and useful advice, guidance and corrections that helped me to complete this work.

My sincere thanks are extended to the Germany Academic Exchange Service/Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), the African Economics Research Consortium (AERC) and the Collaborative Master's program in Agricultural and Applied Economics (CMAAE) for the financial support.

Finally, I thank all the staff of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Faculty of Agriculture, Makerere University for the knowledge they imparted in me throughout the two years I stayed at this institution. I am grateful to my classmates, with whom I shared knowledge and experiences.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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ABSTRACT

The government of Rwanda believes that land fragmentation is a major threat to efficient crop production in the country due to the fact that continuous subdivision of farms has led to small sized land holdings that may be hard to economically operate. This study analyzed the determinants of the productivity and technical efficiency of smallholder maize farms in Gisagara district with a particular focus on land fragmentation using plot size, number of plots per household and distance from the households' residences to plots as measures of land fragmentation. Gisagara district was chosen because previous empirical studies showed high land fragmentation there. The main objective of this study was to determine the effect of the various dimensions of land fragmentation on the productivity and efficiency of smallholder farms in Rwanda. To attain this objective, hypotheses testing whether the various dimensions of land fragmentation had positive/negative effect on productivity and efficiency of farms were stated and tested.

This study adopted the stochastic frontier approach adopted because being a parametric approach, it deals with stochastic noise, and allows hypothesis testing on the production structure and efficiency. Though smallholder maize farms were found to be technically efficient, their efficiency levels would be improved if land fragmentation effects were mitigated. The main conclusion is that land fragmentation affects the technical efficiency of farms but the various dimensions of land fragmentation affect efficiency differently. The number of plots negatively affected technical efficiency of farms; Distance to plots and size of the plot had no significant effect on technical efficiency of farms.

In terms of productivity, this study found out that farm size positively affected the productivity of farms, having many plots reduced productivity and distance to plots did not have a significant effect on productivity and the interaction term () also had no significant effect suggesting that land fragmentation is probably not a big problem as long as plots are close to homes. Land consolidation is recommended and should be implemented. Education be availed to rural farmers and land titling be done

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