Optimal resource allocation in cowpea production systems in eastern Uganda

This study focused on examining the allocation of farm resources by farmers engaged in cowpea production and developing optimal farm plans for cowpea production systems in Eastern Uganda. Earlier studies revealed that cowpea yields are below potential due to factors such as pests and diseases, low soil fertility and low plant populations. To manage these problems, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technologies, were developed and demonstrated on-farm to the farmers. It was further indicated that the IPM technologies were more profitable than farmer’s traditional methods. Since a farmer’s major objective is to maximize output, resource poor farmers produce competing crop enterprises constrained by land, labour, capital, technology, and diseases among others for income and their daily food requirements. In this study, effort was made to find out if cowpea farmers in Eastern Uganda were optimally allocating their resources in the production of the five major crop enterprises including cowpeas. Using face-to-face interviews, data were collected using a structured pre-tested questionnaire and analyzed using descriptive statistics, enterprise budgeting and linear programming. The optimization results clearly show that farmers were not allocating their resources optimally and thus were not maximizing returns form crop production. It was shown that a farmer could improve annual gross margins when the existing crop enterprise mixes are re-planned to a tune of 171.20% (IPM farmer) or 286.07% (non-IPM farmer). This implies that farmers in Eastern Uganda were operating way below their optimal values. Results further show that reductions in cowpea prices and increases in capital reduced the overall gross margins by percentages of less than 13%, implying that an optimizing farmer is safe to operate under these challenges. It was, therefore, recommended that farmers in the area take up the resource use plans to optimally allocate their resources and improve their bargaining power for better prices/or participate in markets with higher process in order to improve their returns.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
Assoc. Prof J. Mugisha (Muk), Mr. Benard Tayebwa (CEO at Genuine Publishers and consultants Ltd)
Printed resource