Agriculture’s role in the Indian enigma: help or hindrance to the crisis of undernutrition?
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In recent decades India has achieved one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world, yet its progress against both child and adult undernutrition has been sluggish at best. While this Indian variant of the so-called Asian enigma presents many puzzles, one of the puzzles pertains to agriculture's role. Many researchers and policymakers have high expectations of agriculture's potential to reduce undernutrition, despite a lack of substantive evidence. In this paper we assess this tenuous evidence base by exploring two key channels by which agricultural production conditions can influence nutritional outomes: a food consumption pathway and a maternal employment-time use pathway. We conclude with an appraisal of some possible entry points for pro-nutrition agricultural policies.
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