'Tangled Connections: Livelihood pathways and nutrition security in rural India
University of Sydney, Australia
During the past five years, attention has turned on the tangled relationship between smallholder farming on the one hand, and food and nutrition security on the other. A program of research from India has pointed to the laggardness by which the nutritional dividends from economic growth are being transmitted to smallholders. This relationship, known as the agriculture-nutrition disconnect, contends that a contemporary conjuncture of social and economic processes are operating to stymie improvements to the nutritional status of smallholders. These include reductions in average land holding size, limitations on cultivation for own-consumption, gendered decision-making processes within households, and increased work and care burdens on women. Yet although the conceptual case for the agriculture-nutrition disconnect is compelling, robust empirical testing of this idea has proven elusive. This presentation asks what kind of research agenda, and what kind of metrics, are required to test the agriculture-nutrition disconnect. It frames this issue by referring to livelihood research the author has undertaken in north India.
November 4, 2015