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Agricultural Economics Research Review
Year : 2016, Volume : 29, Issue : 2
First page : ( 183) Last page : ( 190)
Print ISSN : 0971-3441. Online ISSN : 0974-0279.
Article DOI : 10.5958/0974-0279.2016.00046.X

Rural Livelihood Diversification in West Bengal: Nature and Extent§

Khatun Dilruba1,*, Roy Bidhan Chandra2

1Department of Economics, Asutosh College, Kolkata-700 026, West Bengal

2Institute of Agriculture, Visva-Bharati, Sriniketan-731 236, West Bengal

*Author for correspondence Email: dilrubakhatun@gmail.com

§This paper is drawn out of the PhD thesis entitled, Rural livelihood diversification in West Bengal: Determinants, constraints and impact on household livelihood security, of the first author submitted to the Department of Agricultural Extension, Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Statistics (EES), Palli Siksha Bhavana (Institute of Agriculture), Visva-Bharati, Sriniketan, in 2010.

JEL Classification: Q31


The study, conducted in the state of West Bengal, has examined the nature, extent and causes of livelihood diversification among different livelihood groups. It has found that the level of livelihood diversification highly varies across regions and also across different livelihood groups. The importance of agriculture as a source of livelihood is decreasing and that of the non-farm sector is increasing in West Bengal. For the resource-poor households, livelihood diversification is a survival strategy to cope up with the adverse livelihood shocks and to manage the risky environments. On the other hand, for resource-rich households, livelihood diversification is an attempt to reap the benefits of development. In backward regions like Purulia district, not only the average household income or numbers of income sources are limited but their level of diversification is also quite low. The government needs to develop appropriate strategies, especially for the resource-poor rural households, to facilitate successful livelihood diversification. A comprehensive development plan, including increasing the scope for non-farm activities, is urgently needed for the backward regions in the state.



Livelihood diversification, rural livelihoods, coping strategy.


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