Tea production is one of the most important economic activities of the farming community in Turkey. Tea production is hindered by numerous production and management problems such as aging, land contraction, late replanting, and illegal tea entry. For sustainable tea production, the near-term strategy is to increase the efficiency of the current tea production systems. To the best of our knowledge, our study, for the first time, analyzed the efficiency level of tea farmers and explored its determinants. Furthermore, the efficiency level of shareholding and owned farming systems was also studied. In total, 138 tea growers from three districts of the Rize Province were selected and stratified by a random sampling technique. The results revealed that farmers can reduce their input usage by 43% without compromising their total tea yield. However, the economic efficiency of the farmers was very bad (score: 0.41). The owner-operated farms were less efficient than shareholder farms (score: 0.76), primarily owing to low technical efficiency. Factors such as parcel number, parcel age, slope, altitude, and erosion risk negatively affect the technical efficiency. However, technical efficiency is positively associated with factors such as the farmersï¿½ education level, respondent age, number of family members, land under tea, soil test performance, fertilizer application method, terrace status, and membership of cooperative and farming types (shareholding). A concentrated effort by the government is required to increase the farmerï¿½s skill in tea cultivation. The farmers should be educated on early replanting, fertilizer application, and the benefits of terracing due to the risk of erosion and landslide. In addition, the farmers should be encouraged to utilize their family resources instead of hiring labor to overcome their inputs requirements.
Author(s): Shamsheer Ul Haq, Ismet Boz