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Analysis of Diversifier and Non-Diversifier Farm Households in West Bengal

Biswarup Saha and Ram Bahal

Abstract

Farmer’s household economies are complex and diversified. Although, non-agricultural activities performed by farmers constitute a phenomenal growth but obtained very little attention from development research. This study looks into the strategic and extension role of different non-agricultural activities play in the livelihood securities of farmers and identified the comparative profiles of diversifier and non- diversifier farmers in West Bengal. This study presents evidence that non-farm and off-farm activities are carried out by adults make an important contribution to livelihoods. It was found that Average Diversification Index in the study area was 0.46. The study reveals that on socio-personal characters, the diversifiers were found significantly higher on family labour status but, significantly lower on dependency ratio. Similarly, on economic context, the mean values of diversifiers on material possession, resource mobilization potentiality, annual income and credit utilization behaviour were found significantly higher than those of nondiversifiers but the mean value of the variable distance from market was found significantly lower among diversifiers as against non-diversifiers households. On psychological background the diversifier farmers were higher on the characters of risk taking behaviour and innovativeness. The comparison between diversifiers and non-diversifiers on different livelihood assets reveals that the former differed significantly from the latter in education, family education status, contact with personal localite and awareness about diversification. The diversifier farmers were also found significantly different from non-diversifier farmers on availability of financial assets and extent to the local infrastructure. Despite the vast potentiality to diversify the livelihood towards farm and non- farm activities in the study area, there are problems such as negative perception of the community, outdated method of production, lack of improved technology and skills, lack of business start- up budget and absence of wide market intake of non-farm out put. There are also lack of potential researches to study the effect of non-farm activities on farm production and to identify the major problems that hamper the non-farm sector

Keyword: Livelihood diversificatio

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