|This study analyzed the factors affecting the productivity of smallholder rice farmers in Moyo district. The study utilized four specific objectives namely; to investigate the effect of demographic factors (age, gender, education level, and household size) on the productivity of smallholder rice farmers, to determine the effect of farming experience on the productivity of smallholder rice farmers, to determine the effect of land size owned by the smallholder rice farmers on their productivity, and to assess the effect of agricultural extension support on the productivity of smallholder rice farmers.
Simple random technique and convenient sampling were employed to select targeted 96 smallholder rice farmers to participate in the study and a structured questionnaire was used to collect the required data and STATA 15.0 software was used in data analysis. The result of the analysis revealed that the registered a response rate of 100 percent. Slightly more than a half (56.2 percent) of the respondents were female.
The study established that, smallholder rice farmers who did not benefit from extension services were significantly (p-value = 0.041) 23.1 percent less productive compared to their counterparts who benefited from extension services. Also, smallholder rice farmers who benefited from extension services in the periods of 2015 – 2018 and 2009 – 2014 were significantly (p-value = 0.047 and p-value = 0.048) associated with a 25.2 percent and 32.2 percent lower productivity, respectively as compared to their colleagues who had just benefited from the extension services with the period of 2019 – 2021. The study also established that, a unit increase in the number of household members participating in rice farming would lead to an 8.3 percent increase in rice productivity. Furthermore, the result of the study also revealed that, an increase in the rice farm size by 1 acre would lead to an increase in rice productivity by more than double (103.9 percent).
Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommends that extension services should be made accessible to the smallholder farmers through government programs such as; operation wealth creation, parish model, and so forth. Low cost credit facilities should be advanced to the smallholder farmers to avail them with the capital needed to access the extension services as well as purchasing other farm equipment. Therefore, further study should seek on analyzing the factors affecting productivity of smallholder rice farmers using other factors such as; the farming method adopted, type of rice seed cultivated, membership in a cooperative society, and so forth.