AN ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF MICROFINANCE ON TECHNICAL EFFICIENCY OF SOME COMMERCIAL CROPS IN NIGER STATE, NIGERIA

AN ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF MICROFINANCE ON TECHNICAL EFFICIENCY OF SOME COMMERCIAL CROPS IN NIGER STATE, NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

The study was designed to carry out an assessment of the impact of microfinance on technical efficiency of some commercial crops in Niger State. Major commercial crops grown by the sampled farmers include yam, rice millet, maize cowpea, sorghum and groundnut. These crops are grown in combination with another during one farming season. A multistage sampling technique was usedin selecting the respondent farmers. Primary data was used for this study.A cross-sectional data from farm survey of crop farmers for 2014 growing season was collected from a total of 360 crop farmers sampled from 18 Local Government Areas of the State. The tools used in analyzing the data collected were descriptive statistics, stochastic production frontier and double hurdle models. The results from the analysis of the socioeconomic characteristics of the loan beneficiary and non-loan beneficiary farmers reveals that there was no significant difference between both groups of farmers in terms of age, education levels, farming experience and household size. Food crop production in the study area was found to be inelastic with a decreasing return to scale for both groups of farmers. Whereas, the mean output tested for both group was not statistically different from one another. The result from the distribution and level of technical efficiencies for both groups of farmers examined shows a mean technical efficiency of 52.9% and 74.2% for the loan beneficiary and non-loan beneficiary farmers respectively. It further reveals a significant difference in the technical efficiency level obtained by both groups of farmers. The result also showed that there was a statistically significant relationship between the socio-economic factor and technical efficiency in crop production among the loan beneficiary and non-loan beneficiary farmers.It further indicates that 85.7% and 3.9% of the total variation in aggregate food crop production by the loan beneficiary and non-loan beneficiary respectively was due to technical inefficiency.The impact of micro credit on technical efficiency of the loan beneficiary farmer shows that credit use was statistically significant in respect of land, fertilizer and herbicides. While it does not have any significant difference in terms of labour usage, quantity of seeds and consequently the yield obtained as compared to the non-beneficiary farmer. Though the accessibility of microfinance to crop farmers was found to be determined by household and loan characteristic of the farmers. It shows that there was a significant difference in the total income, farm capital, land size, household size and education level between the two groups but no significant difference in their age, marital status


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