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Scarcity of Agricultural Labour in Cold-Arid Ladakh: Extent, Implications, Backward Bending and Coping Mechanism


  • Baba, S.H.
  • Wani, M.H.
  • Shaheen, F.A.
  • Zargar, Bilal A.
  • Kubrevi, S.S.


This paper has investigated the extent of agricultural labour shortage, its implications and combating strategies in a cold-arid eco-region of Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir. The study has observed that the intensity of male agricultural labour has decreased and of female labour has increased in the cold-arid region of Ladakh, thereby, suggesting imparting of professionalism through extension trainings and other capacity building programmes among female labourers. Regression analysis has revealed that the extent of mechanization, literacy and income of non-agricultural workers are significant and negative determinants of labour availability, while improvement in landholding size and land productivity would significantly improve their supply to the farming sector. At the farm level, labour scarcity has been estimated at 27 per cent in fodder to 70 per cent of total labour requirement in apricot. Labour shortage, especially during critical farm activities, has negative implications on farm profitability and productivity levels. Farmers have adopted various strategies to combat labour scarcity, but an optimum strategy seems to be still absent. Out-migration of rural labour has been observed as a regular livelihood-security gesture in the villages. Higher number of labour days and in turn, higher annual income has been found in the non-farm avenues. Interaction of variables like wage rates and tourism in the Ladakh region has resulted in backward bending of labour supply in agriculture. On the basis of findings of this study, a few policy suggestions have emerged which include linking of production with marketing through value addition to engage labour for most part of the year and innovation in the form of location and farm-size specific machines to combat labour scarcity. Study has also emphasized on encouragement of micro-agricultural enterprises and labour exchange system as a viable strategy to reduce severity of labour scarcity problem.

Suggested Citation

  • Baba, S.H. & Wani, M.H. & Shaheen, F.A. & Zargar, Bilal A. & Kubrevi, S.S., 2011. "Scarcity of Agricultural Labour in Cold-Arid Ladakh: Extent, Implications, Backward Bending and Coping Mechanism," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), issue 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aerrae:119391

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Dreze & Peter Lanjouw & Nicholas Stern, 1992. "Economic Mobility and Agricultural Labour in Rural India: A Case Study," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 27, pages 25-54.
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    More about this item


    Labour scarcity; Implications of labour scarcity; Coping strategies for labour scarcity; Agricultural and Food Policy; J21; J23;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand


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