DOI: 10.1177/23210249241233067 ISSN: 2321-0249

A Comparative Study on Alternative Livelihoods and Relation Between Landholding on the Coastal Women Cultivators of Neighbouring Panchayats of West Bengal and Odisha

Nilay Banerjee
  • General Engineering

In India, the common notion towards cultivation is that it is commonly a male-centric activity. Women are a crucial resource in cultivation in rural India, but their contribution to cultivation is mostly disguised. Moreover, in India, large sections of women from economically and socially backward sections of the society are deprived twice, once for being born as a girl and once for being poor. The rural women in the coastal climatic zones have started to shift from being related solely to farming. This shift has been fuelled by various reasons such as less adequate knowledge of modern agricultural systems, physical drudgery of cultivation and the economic viability of the non-farm livelihood activities in the rural areas. In the coastal areas of West Bengal and Odisha, the scope of alternative livelihood is immense. Further, long-standing obstacles faced by rural women in terms of limited access to productive resources (land, credit, inputs, transport, extension services, storage, technical assistance and overall social prejudices) prevent them from adopting agriculture as their prime livelihood option. Moreover, recent studies on women in agriculture conducted in India and other lower-middle income and underdeveloped countries all point to the conclusion that women contribute far more towards agricultural production than has generally been acknowledged. The study has intricately focused on some key topics such as the access and control over land as a resource for women cultivator communities in coastal zones of West Bengal and Odisha and further to gather proper knowledge about the alterations of the livelihood of the women cultivators of the area. The study focuses on the differences between the two homogeneous communities living in close proximity showing different levels of alternative livelihoods and the relation between landholding and alternative livelihoods.

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