Technical Efficiency of Sugarcane Monoculture and Sugarcane-Soybean Integration among Smallholder Farmers in Awendo Sub-County, Kenya

Kevin O. Ouko, Hillary K. Bett, Bandiougou Dembele


The demand for sugar in Kenya has been rising with low farm level productivity and high cost of production of USD 870 per MT. The ability of smallholder sugarcane farmers to improve sugarcane output levels and attain sustainable production depends on efficient farm practices, hence technical efficiency. The study analyzed technical efficiency of sugarcane-based cropping systems among smallholder farmers in Awendo Sub-County, Kenya. Primary cross-sectional data were collected from 246 randomly selected sugarcane farmers using multi-stage sampling method. The study identified two sugarcane-based cropping systems, namely; sugarcane monoculture which accounted for 62.6% of the cropping systems and sugarcane-soybean integration which accounted for 37.4 % of the cropping system, indicating that sugarcane monoculture dominated sugarcane based enterprise in the study area. The analysis employed Cobb Douglas stochastic production frontier model to estimate technical efficiency levels. A two-limit Tobit model was used to examine the factors influencing technical efficiency. Results indicated the highest output elasticity for land size (0.532) followed by herbicides (0.051). Fertilizer quantity and sugarcane cuttings had output elasticities of 0.029 and 0.015 respectively. The sum of the partial elasticities in the estimated model was 0.583. Results also showed that sugarcane-soybean integrators were more efficient than sugarcane monoculture farmers and land was found out to be the single most important variable in influencing the farmer’s efficiency. The mean technical efficiency of 62% and 64 % showed that the potential exist to increase output by 38% and 36% for non-integrators and integrators respectively with the present technology. This study recommends that sugarcane farmers be encouraged to allocate part of their land to production of soybean to enhance food security and improve household income. It further recommends that there is need for training sugarcane and soybean farmers on optimum utilization of farm inputs the study area.

Keywords: Technical efficiency, Sugarcane monoculture, Sugarcane-Soybean Integration, Smallholder farmer

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