This paper is based on a study that was carried out to evaluate the effect of land fragmentation on farm efficiency in three agro-ecological zones of Embu County in Kenya from July 2017 to March 2018. The study used data collected from 384 farm-households that were randomly selected from three agro-ecological zones (AEZs) in the Embu County, using the multistage stratified sampling method. The AEZs were the Sunflower-Cotton Zone, the Coffee Zone and the Tea Zone, based on the official classification system in Kenya. Farm technical efficiency was measured using non-parametric data envelopment analysis. The multinomial regression analysis was used to evaluate the effect of farm size and other factors on farm efficiency. Farm size was found to have a negative and significant effect on farm efficiency in the Coffee Zone (p=0.013, β=0.879) and Tea Zone (p=0.046, β=1.016), but was insignificant in the Sunflower-Cotton Zone. However, the study revealed that the impact of farm size on farm efficiency varies within and across different agro-ecological zones. Other key factors that were found to significantly affect farm efficiency in combination with farm size are distance to market outlet, household head’s level of education and age and farm access to credit and irrigation water. Similarly, the impact of these factors was found to vary in and across the three zones. For improvement of farm efficiency in the study area, this study recommends that the remaining large farms in the Tea Zone be managed as smaller semi-autonomous blocks. Other recommendations made were increasing access to agricultural education, markets, credit and irrigation water.
Key words: Land fragmentation, farm size, agro-ecological zones, technical efficiency, mixed farming.
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