Energy efficiency, energy inputs, Data Envelopment Analysis, energy consumption, energy saving potentials, energy conservation, slacked based super efficiency
Tobacco is considered as one of the most important industrial cash crop and source of livelihood to many families in Pakistan. Considering the contraction of land under tobacco cultivation, the present study is intended to evaluate the production efficiency of tobacco growers in southern Punjab, Pakistan. The Data Envelopment Analysis model was used to investigate energy usage efficiency of tobacco farmers based on seven energy inputs; human labour, farm machinery, irrigation, diesel, fertilizers, chemicals, seeds, and a single output. Moreover, the current study also used DEA – super efficiency to identify and rank efficient and inefficient tobacco producers; and to suggest optimum energy requirements and energy savings potentials. The primary data from 210 tobacco growers were collected in-person interviews by random sampling technique. The findings of the study revealed that average energy consumed in the form of inputs and yield obtained in tobacco production was 52,703.58 MJ/ha-1 and 3,096.98 MJ/ha-1, respectively. Average technical, pure technical, and scale efficiency score was calculated to be 0.902, 0.961, and 0.938, respectively. Likewise, the energy-saving ratio in tobacco production was estimated to be 13.83%, which implies that by adopting the proposed recommendations about 7,121.66 MJ/ha-1 energy could be saved without compromising the output. Also, fertilizers, chemicals, irrigation, and diesel had the highest share in the consumption of energy inputs. The findings of the study provides pinpoint options to the agricultural polices makers to launch the technical training programs for the tobacco farmers to adopt better management practices to optimize the application of energy inputs to reduce the cost of tobacco production. The agricultural extension department should also visit the tobacco fields to assist the farmers about timely application of inputs and with extension services.