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Abstract

Butare, where this study was conducted, exhibits one of the highest population densities in Rwanda. As a direct result of population growth, most peasants have small fields and land fragmentation is common. The purpose of this article is to examine the effect of land fragmentation on economic efficiency. Regression analysis shows that area operated is primarily determined by the population-land ratio, non-agricultural employment opportunities, ownership certainty and adequate information through agricultural training. Results from a block-recursive regression analysis indicate that the level of net farm income per hectare, which indirectly reflects greater economic efficiency, is determined by the area operated, use of farm information, field extension staff visits, formal education of a farm operator, and the fragmentation of land holdings. Economies of size are evident in the data. The results obtained using ridge regression support the findings of two-stage least squares. Policies should be implemented to improve the functioning of land rental markets in order to reduce land fragmentation, improve rural education and access to relevant information; and strengthen extension facilities to individual farmers.

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