The interaction of household agricultural landholding and Caste on food security in rural Uttar Pradesh, India

Srinivas Goli, Anu Rammohan, Sri Priya Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent studies on the agriculture- nutrition disconnect and its implications for farming systems, especially in South Asia have revived the debate surrounding the relationship of food security to household agricultural landholding (HAL). In rural India, food security, HAL, and social hierarchy (Caste) are closely connected. However, lack of empirical research on their interlinkages creates a knowledge gap that limits the formulation of evidence-based policies. In this study, we use data from a unique survey of 5087 rural households in Uttar Pradesh (UP) state in India to empirically assess the links between Caste, HAL, and food security. Our analysis finds that, both independently and collectively, Caste and agricultural landholding have a significant bearing on household food insecurity levels. 94% of all food-insecure households report to hold no HAL or are holding marginal HAL. The predicted probability of food insecurity for households with no HAL is four times higher compared to medium-to-large HAL. Marginalised Castes (e.g. Hindu and Muslim Dalits) have three-to-four time higher chance of food insecurity compared to their counterparts. The interaction effects of Caste-HAL suggest that marginalised Castes with no landholding are the most vulnerable groups for food insecurity. Thus, we suggest considering the role of Caste and HAL based inequalities and their interaction effect in policies adopted by the state for ensuring accessibility and availability of food among households in rural UP.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Security
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

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