This study is confined to the Nemmara block of Palakkad district in Kerala, one of the major vegetable growing tracts in the district. A multi-stage random sampling procedure was adopted, and a sample of 180 growers60 farmers each for bitter-gourd, snake-gourd and ivy-gourdwas selected for the study, during 2004-05. The stochastic production function of the Cobb-Douglas form was used to determine the technical efficiency. The Mean Technical Efficiency (MTE) was worked out as the ratio of the production of ith farm to the frontier production of the same farm. For bitter-gourd, snake-gourd and ivy-gourd, the mean technical efficiencies were 0.85, 0.91 and 0.58, respectively. Technical efficiency of the individual farms varied widely between 30% and 100%.
India, with diverse soil and climatic conditions comprising of several agro-ecological regions,
provides ample opportunity to grow a variety of horticultural crops. These crops form a
significant part of the total agricultural produce in the country comprising of fruits;
vegetables; roots and tuber crops; flowers; ornamental plants; medicinal and aromatic plants;
spices and condiments; plantation crops and mushrooms. It is estimated that all the
horticulture crops put together, cover 7 million hectares of area with an annual production
of 91 million tonnes.
India is the second largest producer of vegetables in the world (surpassed only by China).
Though India has a 16% share in the world population; it contributes only to the extent of
12.22% of the total vegetable production in the world (Ramamurthy et al. 2003). In 2002,
India produced 78.2 million tonnes of vegetables from 5.73 million hectares of land. But it
is not catering much to the needs of the increasing population. Population growth
characterized with rapid urbanization will induce higher demand for fruits and vegetables.