Agriculture, Income, and Nutrition Linkages in India: Insights from a Nationally Representative Survey

Priya Bhagowalia, Derek D. Headey, Suneetha Kadiyala
ifpri discussion paper

Most research on these issues has focused on nutrition-specific interventions rather than the broader economic processes that also influence nutritional change. In light of this knowledge gap, this paper focuses on linkages between nutrition and household incomes, as well as agricultural production. To do so, we use a relatively recent nationally representative household survey from India, the 2004/05 India Human Development Survey. First we explore the relationships between household income and anthropometric indicators, controlling for a range of other determinants of nutrition. We also test hypotheses related to the perceived importance of agricultural income and production conditions, such as irrigation and ownership of land and livestock. Our results suggest that the income gradient for undernutrition is indeed quite weak, although non-income determinants such as female secondary education, access to safe water and sanitation facilities, antenatal checkups, and children’s vaccinations all have significant effects on child nutrition.