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Livestock, Women, and Child Nutrition in Rural India

Publisher: Agricultural Economics Research Review

The importance of women in livestock production is though widely acclaimed, the issues relating to their control over income from livestock activities and its outcomes on children’s health, nutrition and education have not received much attention in the empirical literature. This paper assesses the role of livestock in improving women’s bargaining power in intra-household resource allocation and its effects on children’s nutritional status using the India Human Development Survey (IHDS) data of 26,734 rural households for 2004-05. The study finds that both males and females participate in animal husbandry, but with an additional illiterate female worker a household realizes more than 7 per cent higher income from livestock activities. The paper finds evidence that nutritional outcomes might be affected by livestock ownership in rural India, although with differing patterns across age groups of children. A strong association is observed between ownership of large ruminants and child nutritional status, specifically on the probability of being underweight (limited to children between 2 and 5 years of age). Further, these nutritional outcomes are affected by an interplay of various factors such as child and parental characteristics, dwelling characteristics, etc. The study suggests that it is now critical to put on a gendered lens to all the livestock related interventions and activities. Such interventions would help in directly enhancing the diet quality of the household members besides providing more livelihood opportunities and enhanced incomes.

Author(s): PS Birthal, Jaya Jumrani | Views(211) | Download (103)

  
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