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Irrigation development has been considered as one of the viable strategies for achieving food security. Accordingly, the government of Ethiopia has been increasing water resource development and utilization. However, to what extent the irrigation users are better off than rainfall dependent counterparts on their technical effi ciency (TE) and variability in productivity among the farmers is not well known. Therefore, this study compared the technical effi ciency of farmers who are producing potato under irrigation and through rainfall in Eastern Ethiopia. Propensity Score Matching was applied to select irrigated farms with comparable attributes to rain-fed farms to see the true effi ciency diff erences between the two groups. Cobb-Douglas production function was fi tted using the stochastic production frontier for both irrigated and rain fed farming. The result indicated that irrigated farms have high ineffi ciencies compared with the rain-fed farms. This indicates the existence of considerable potential for increasing output by improving the effi ciency of irrigated farms than rain-fed farms. Among the factors hypothesized to determine the level of TE, landholding, family size and extension contact were found to have a signifi cant eff ect on irrigated farms whereas, landholding, non/off income, farm income, livestock size and extension contact were the determinants in rain-fed farms. This indicates that factors that aff ect technical effi - ciency in irrigated farms are not necessarily the same as rain fed farms. Therefore, it is important to consider both farms groups in evaluating strategies aimed at improving technical effi ciency of smallholder farmers


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