Technical efficiency of layer chicken farmers in Kasese district
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Chicken production is becoming important in Uganda, especially in Kasese district. Various government programs and development agencies have prioritized chicken production as one of the enterprises that can lead to an increase in farm income for smallholder farmers. Therefore, an increasing number of farmers in Kasese district are adopting layer chicken production. However, the productivity of layer farmers is still low. In order to optimize returns from the increased uptake of chicken production, focus should be on increasing the efficiency of these farmers. This requires investigating the factors that influence technical efficiency of these farmers. The study therefore assessed technical efficiency (TE) of layer chicken production and the inherent factors influencing technical efficiency. While adopting a cross-sectional approach, the study used a random sample of 140 chicken farmers selected across the entire district. Data was collected using structured questionnaires. Technical efficiency was assessed using the parametric stochastic frontier approach, while the factors that influence technical efficiency were assessed using the Tobit regression model. Results showed that flock size (p<0.01) and quantity of drugs used (p<0.1) were the major productivity determinants. The mean technical efficiency was 81%with over 90% of the farmers operating above 50%technical efficiency. A number of socio-economic factors were found to influence technical efficiency. These include; number of females in the household (p<0.01), farmers experience (p<0.1), assistance from organizations (p<0.01), and number of household members with primary education (p<0.05). The study recommends support to female farmers to increase labor productivity, regulating local markets to ensure steady supply inputs, establishing livestock diagnostic laboratories to enable proper disease diagnosis for effective treatment and promoting at least primary education to enable farmers grasp new technologies and innovations. There is also need to train farmers on disease prevention so as to reduce on the quantity of drugs used that was associated with the low productivity.