Livelihood risks and coping strategies: A Case study in the agrarian village of Cherumad, Kerala
This paper examines the various dimensions of livelihood risk as informed by a in-depth case study of an agrarian village namely, Cherumad in Kerala. The livelihood risk in Cherumad since the last quarter of the 1990's has been unique and unprecedented in their nature and intensity. The effect of price risk and productivity risk of crops became an income risk to the farming community. For agricultural labour too it was an income risk with double effects of wage risk and employment risk. These risk have resulted in a general fall in the living standards of people. The livelihood dynamics in Cherumad shows that improvement in livelihood assets improves livelihood outcomes and vice versa. Institutions (both formal and informal) affect access to assets and livelihood outcomes. Across socio-economic groups, livelihood outcome are determined by the portfolio of livelihood assets, especially land. The households have developed a number of coping strategies in response to distress. These strategies are meant to smooth consumption and income and rebuilding household livelihood. In this context, the overall emphasis of state intervention should be in strengthening their livelihood assets.
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