Beyond Food Production
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Beyond Food Production

The Role of Agriculture in Poverty Reduction

Edited by Fabrizio Bresciani and Alberto Valdés

The importance of agricultural growth to poverty reduction is well known, but the specific channels through which the poor can take advantage of growth require further research. Beyond Food Production takes on this challenge, investigating four important channels: rural labor markets, farm incomes, food prices, and linkages to other economic sectors.
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Chapter 5: India

Manoj Panda


Manoj Panda INTRODUCTION India is the second largest populated country in the world. The total population of India exceeded one billion at the beginning of the twenty-first century. According to the official government estimates, about a quarter of the country’s total population remains below the poverty line at present. The total number of poor was about 260 million in 1999–2000, making it home to the largest number of poor in the world. About three-quarters of India’s poor live in rural areas and depend mostly on agriculture for their livelihood. The ‘green revolution’ with the associated technological innovations has been instrumental in improving the livelihood opportunities in rural India since the early 1970s. Hence, it is only natural that the relationship between agricultural growth and poverty reduction has been extensively studied in India over the last three decades. Several authors have emphasised the important role of agriculture in determining changes in magnitude of poverty through channels such as income rise, productivity growth, food prices and wage rate. Against this background, this chapter aims to reassess the role of agriculture on the poverty-reduction process in India using both cross-section and time-series data for major Indian states. The following section deals with the definition of poverty line, different measures of poverty used in this chapter and the Indian database. Section 3 briefly discusses the recent trends in poverty in India and its variations across states. Sections 4–6 constitute the core of the chapter. Section 4 discusses...

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