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Household responses to food shortages in Western Nepal.

Panter-Brick, C. and Eggerman, M. (1997) 'Household responses to food shortages in Western Nepal.', Human organization., 56 (2). pp. 190-198.


Food shortages occur periodically and predictably in over- populated areas of the foothills of the Himalaya, leading to extensive out-migration and to indebtedness of farmers. A survey of four administrative areas and in-depth interviews of 120 households (a sample of diverse caste and ethnic groups, stratified by land area) was undertaken in two districts of western Nepal to document the severity of shortfall in local agricultural production and the range of household coping strategies. The duration of food shortages averaged 5 months of the year, but ranged enormously across households, with 4% of sample families being entirely landless. Out-migration, wage labor, petty trade, high-interest loans, and land mortgage were well-established coping strategies, beneficial for some families in generating income and the possibility for investment, but for others leading to progressively greater debt, economic marginalisation and impoverishment. This study highlights the importance of encouraging diversified strategies for subsistence farmers to ensure cash revenue, much of which is derived from debt and emigration, and reviews the geographical and socio- economic factors influencing both constraints on household subsistence and responses to seasonal food deficits.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Food shortages, Migration, Debt, Caste, Population pressure, Seasonality, Subsistence.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Record Created:23 Sep 2008
Last Modified:12 Nov 2010 12:33

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