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Abstract

There has been a decline in crop productivity in Kenya, a situation that has contributed to the raising food insecurity in the country. Communities in arid and semi-arid areas of the country, the landless, and female headed households are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Given the rising percentage of female headed households in Kenya (estimated at 37% in 2005), there is need to examine crop productivity in male and female managed farms and do a diagnosis of factors that lead to low productivity in female headed households and hence their higher vulnerability to food insecurity. This paper aims at examining gender differentials in farm resource ownership and how it affects the technical efficiency in maize production in male and female managed farms. The underlying hypothesis in this paper is that: given the same level of production technology, there should be no significant differences in the levels of maize productivity between male and female farmers. Hence, any significant differences would be attributed to differences in access to production resources. The paper focuses on maize since it is the staple crop in the study region and in Kenya. The stochastic frontier analysis reveals that both male and female managed farms are technically inefficient, since both categories of farm households produced below the production frontier. Contributing factors to the inefficiency were low levels of formal education, lack of access to credit and agriculture extension facilities, low input use and labour constraints especially in female farm households.

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