Accepted 6th March, 2014
Irrigation is one means by which agricultural production can be increased to meet the growing food demands in the world. This study evaluated the farm household technical efficiency of smallholder irrigated and rain-fed farm production. The specific objectives of this study are to compare farm households’ technical efficiency of irrigation users and non-users and to identify factors influencing farm households’ technical efficiency in Girawa district, Oromia, Ethiopia. Both primary and secondary data were collected for the study. Primary data were collected from 200 sample respondents drawn from both participant and non-participant households. Preliminary statistics and econometric model were employed for data analysis. The results of Stochastic frontier model applied to assess the determinants of technical efficiency revealed that education, cultivated area, Extension contact livestock holding, access to irrigation, training and social status significantly determined technical efficiency. The results revealed that households that participate in irrigation practice have got an improvement of 8.92 percent in technical efficiency than those households that were not participated in irrigation practice. All results obtained from different models revealed the positive effect of irrigation on farm household technical efficiency. Therefore, policy makers should give due emphasis to the aforementioned variables to increase farm household efficiency and improve the livelihood of rural households.
Keywords: Irrigation, rain-fed, farm household, technical efficiency, and stochastic frontier model.