Do data envelopment and stochastic frontier analyses produce similar efficiency estimates? The case of Ghanaian maize production

This study applied stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) and data envelopment analysis (DEA) to
examine the technical efficiency of maize production in northern Ghana using cross-sectional data from 360 maize farmers for the 2011/2012 cropping season. Farm size, seed, fertiliser and herbicides had a positive effect on maize output. Agricultural mechanisation, extension services, experience and gender influenced technical efficiency. The study recommends that access to tractors be expanded to increase farmers’ production efficiency. Maize production could improve if less-experienced farmers learn from the accumulated knowledge of experienced farmers, including through extension. Agricultural extension services should be strengthened to disseminate improved farming practices to farmers for increased efficiency. Female farmers should be supported by removing socio-cultural barriers by raising awareness in order to correct the wrong traditions and perceptions inimical to women’s full participation in farming so as to bring improvements in technical efficiency.