Maize and Livestock Production Efficiencies and Their Drivers in Heterogeneous Smallholder Systems in Southwestern Burkina Faso
Thiombiano, Boundia Alexandre
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Smallholder farms produce most of the food in the sub-Saharan African drylands, which are still facing a critical food shortage due to low productivity and a growing population. Given the poverty level, which limits investments in productive technologies, smallholders could significantly improve their production by reducing the observed yield gaps. To this end, the integration of a dual crop–livestock approach could play an important role in creating synergistic opportunities for integration. Unfortunately, these aspects of farm heterogeneity are under-researched in the drylands area. The present study, which was conducted in the village of Pontieba, Southwestern Burkina, addresses this gap. A multidimensional dataset of 108 randomly selected smallholder farms was collected using the sustainable livelihood framework, and an agricultural livelihood system typology was identified. We used Data-Envelopment-Analysis Programming (DEAP) method to calculate the technical efficiencies (TE) of (1) maize production and (2) integrated maize–livestock production for different agricultural livelihood system (ALS) types. Through logistic regression analyses, we also evaluated social, economic and ecological factors determining these production efficiencies. The results confirmed the trend towards low technical efficiency (TE) of farm production in sub-Saharan Africa. The overall sample’s TE score was 0.37 and 0.59 for maize and integrated maize–livestock production. Heterogeneities were found across ALS types. Binary logistic regressions showed the existence of type-specific affecting factors of farm maize and integrated livestock production. The integration of maize and livestock was proven to be the best pathway for improving farm production efficiencies with the available resources. Better resources endowed agricultural livelihood systems were with better performance for on-farm technical production efficiency. The study recommended that policy interventions prioritize type-specific and well-targeted policies, rather than uniform interventions that will likely fail in efficiently improving smallholder farms’ production performances. A better integration of policy interventions in the agricultural sector for profiting from positive spillover effects and strengthening system thinking in farm design and policy intervention is also needed. Furthermore, farming design options studies and further studies should account for agricultural livelihood heterogeneity.