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Agriculture and Child Under-Nutrition in India: A State Level Analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Swarna Sadasivam Vepa

    ()

    (Economist (LANSA), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (Chennai) and Visiting faculty Madras School of Economics (Chennai))

  • Vinodhini Umashankar

    ()

    (Research Associates (LANSA), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation,)

  • R.V. Bhavani

    ()

    (Project Manager, (LANSA), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai,)

  • Rohit Parasar

    ()

    (Research Associates (LANSA), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation,)

Registered author(s):

    The literature review on agriculture-child nutrition linkage indicates that the evidence base is weak and inconclusive (Kadiyala et al., 2013). This paper explores the possible linkages between agricultural prosperity with rural child nutrition at the macro level, controlling for sanitation and safe drinking water, using panel data fixed effects and random effects models. The four alternate indicators of agricultural prosperity viz., agricultural growth, worker productivity, land productivity and food grain production per capita used alternatively enable us to conclude that negative influence of agricultural prosperity on child undernutrition exists, though the influence of various aspects of prosperity on underweight and stunting differ. Other aspects of agriculture considered, such as female agricultural wages help to reinforce the negative influence of agricultural prosperity on underweight in children and the land operational inequality dampens the impact of agricultural prosperity as it increases the incidence of stunting. Water and sanitation help reduce child undernutrition albeit differently on stunting and underweight. The same set of variables seems to influence stunting and underweight differently. Their trajectories seem to differ. The present study enables us to conclude that Indian agricultural growth through higher food grain production and through higher land productivity, when percolates through, labour productivity and higher wages, can reduce child undernutrition in rural India. However, public policy has to promote social provisioning of sanitation and health and make sure that agricultural growth is consistent. Public policy should ensure that growth translates into higher labour productivity and higher wages.

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    Paper provided by Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India in its series Working Papers with number 2014-086.

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    Length: 49 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2014
    Handle: RePEc:mad:wpaper:2014-086
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    1. Christiaensen, Luc & Demery, Lionel & Kuhl, Jesper, 2011. "The (evolving) role of agriculture in poverty reduction--An empirical perspective," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 239-254, November.
    2. Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2014. "Agricultural Productivity Differences across Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 165-170, May.
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    8. Katsushi S. Imai & Samuel Kobina Annim & Raghav Gaiha & Veena S. Kulkarni, 2012. "Does Women's Empowerment Reduce Prevalence of Stunted and Underweight Children in Rural India?," Discussion Paper Series DP2012-11, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, revised Dec 2012.
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    14. Bhagowalia, Priya & Headey, Derek D. & Kadiyala, Suneetha, 2012. "Agriculture, Income, and Nutrition Linkages in India: Insights from a Nationally Representative Survey:," IFPRI discussion papers 1195, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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