Sheep and goat production systems in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operate under scarce natural resource constraints. A cross-sectional survey that covered 661 mixed farms, including major sheep and goat production, was conducted in the three regions of Abu Dhabi Emirate (Al-Ain, Western Region and Abu Dhabi city) during 2012. A Cobb-Douglas, double-logarithmic stochastic frontier production function and maximum likelihood estimation were applied to estimate important economic derivatives and the associated risk of small ruminant production in this arid area. The highest impact of an input on the output level was found to be labor for raising sheep and alfalfa grass for raising goats. Both labor and alfalfa variables were found to be overutilized for sheep and goat production, respectively. Overall, the results indicate that average technical efficiency is 0.62 for raising sheep and only 0.34 for raising goats in the study area. Technical efficiency analysis included measuring the frequency of farms at each level of estimated technical efficiency in the range between zero and one. Zero for the technical efficiency coefficient indicates a lack of technical efficiency in resource use. The results of this study indicated that only 1% of the sheep farms show a technical efficiency coefficient of 0.25 or less; the same can be said for 41% of goat producers. However, these technical efficiencies were found to be more than 0.75 for 12% and 5% of the sheep and goat farms, respectively. Overall, goat farming in the UAE was found to be less efficient than sheep production. The results also indicated that flock size and type of breed were the most influential factors relative to other factors, and both show a positive relationship with technical efficiency. Other than flock size, factors, such as owners’ years of experience and management practices, were found to be more influential on goat farming system efficiency relative to sheep farming.
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