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Agricultural productivity, seasonality and gender bias in rural nutrition: Empirical evidence from South India

Authors
Disciplines
  • Agricultural Science
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Abstract

This paper analyzes changes in the nutrients intake, intra-household allocation and gender bias due to changes in agricultural productivity among four groups of rural households over six different seasons. The study utilizes household survey data collected from a village in Tamil Nadu, India. While the results are consistent with earlier findings that seasonality influences variation in the intake of nutrients, it is shown that subsistence agricultural households recover faster from poor crop yields than market oriented agricultural households in terms of nutrient intake. Agricultural labour households consumed lowest quantities of energy and protein in all seasons with the highest degree of gender bias. The gender bias is more in terms of protein intake compared to energy intake for all the households. The non-agricultural households are least affected due to variability in crop yields and seasonality. While nutritional intake of the rural households is positively correlated with crop yields, the variations in yields worsen the gender bias. It is argued that reducing dependency of rural households on agriculture may reduce malnutrition and the gender bias associated with it.

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