Student research on production efficiency of small-scale tree growers in Tanzania

First field visit and interaction with farmers during WoodCluster field school in the selected study village. (©N. Mathayo)

I am Neema Mathayo, from Tanzania, Masters Student at Sokoine University of Agriculture doing MSc. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. I did my master thesis research on “Production efficiency of small-scale tree growers in Mufindi district, Iringa-Tanzania”. This research was done under WoodCluster project sponsored by German government.

The demand for wood product in the country is expected to double between 2013 and 2035 due to increasing demand by construction, furniture and paper sectors hence there is a need for private sectors including small-scale farmers in the country to counter balances the supply. Meanwhile the small-scale plantation forestry is expanding rapidly in southern highlands of Tanzania due to market demand and favorable policies. However information on the production efficiency of small scale farmers is still lacking. Hence the main purpose of this Study was investigation of production efficiency of small-scale tree growers in Mufindi district, Tanzania. Specifically the study wanted to determine technical efficiency levels of small-scale tree growers and Identifying factors influencing production efficiency of small-scale tree growers in Mufindi. Despite of Mufindi being the project site, the area is among the leading district in woodlot production in Tanzania. This is driven by the large number of small-scale tree growers and the only district in Tanzania where forest activities rank second to agriculture in terms of income generation.

During the execution of my field work, I face a numbers challenges including heavy rainfall that sometimes prolonged the time of field stay and interview. But the most difficult situation was a distress by community especially to the guest due to the report death of a number of children in the neighborhoods district (MAKETE and NJOMBE) were it was associated by the intruders.  This makes us worry and not moving alone but also required a lot of repeated introduction and working with village officers.

Neema Mathayo and the small holder farmers she interviewed on site (©N. Mathayo)

From the districts level to the villages I had receive the best interaction and collaboration where by mostly of the time I worked with sub-village leaders through permission from a particularly village executive officer.  Many small holder where aware of the project and therefore they provide a maximum collaboration, however their concern was when and where will they receive the result of this study. The study results showed that small-scale tree growers were not fully technically efficient. Quality of seeds, farm size, extension services and marital status were major factors significantly influencing technical efficiency of the small-scale tree growers. The policy implication of the study is that technical efficiency of small-scale tree growers could be increased by 15.5% under variable return to scale and 20% under constant return to scale by improving the use of available resources also to encourage farmers to join farmer based organizations, better management of woodlots and Availability of quality seeds/seedling are options that would improve the efficiency of the small-scale tree growers.

Furthermore, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my Supervisor Prof. J. M.  Abdallah, Prof. Felister Mombo (SUA WoodCluster project coordinator), Ms. Maxi Domke (TU Dresden WoodCluster project coordinator), for their cooperation in shaping the study and sponsoring it hence make my study life enjoyable and memorable. It is through the above fore mention that this study was possible, may God bless you all and continue make the impact to our world.

By Neema Mathayo

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