Impact of Soil Conservation on Farm Efficiency of Maize Growers in Arsi Negelle, Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia (Review Completed - Accepted)
Ethiopia has failed to produce enough food to feed its population and the country has remained as one of the poorest countries in the world and land degradation has been identified as one of the most serious problems that threaten the sustainability of agriculture in the country. In an effort to address this problem, the government has given due attention for soil and water conservation in the country. However, definitive and quantitative information regarding soil conservation and its interactions with farm productivity is lacking. The major concern of this study was therefore, to evaluate the impact of soil conservation interventions on technical efficiency of smallholder farm households in Arsi Negelle district of Ethiopia using cross sectional data collected from randomly selected 160 sample households during 2011/12 production season. Stochastic frontier has been used to extract the efficiency scores from the production function and to measure the impact of conservation practices on technical efficiency; Propensity Score Matching (PSM) was employed. The logistic regression estimation of factors affecting participation in soil conservation revealed that educational level of the household head, farming experience and frequency of extension contact significantly affected the participation decision of households in soil conservation. In matching processes, kernel matching with band width of 0.5 was found to be the best matching algorism. This method was also checked for covariate balancing with a standardized bias, t-test, and joint significance level tests. The results revealed that households that participate in conservation practice have got an improvement of 3.16 percent in technical efficiency than those households that were not participated which shows participation has a significant, positive and robust impact on the outcome variables. Therefore, policy makers and other stockholders should give due attention in soil conservation.