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Natural Resource Endowments, Subsistence Agriculture, and Poverty in the Chhotanagpur Plateau

Banik, Pabitra and Edmonds, Christopher and Fuwa, Nobuhiko and Kam, Suan Pheng and Villano, Lorena and Bagchi, D.K. (2004): Natural Resource Endowments, Subsistence Agriculture, and Poverty in the Chhotanagpur Plateau.


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The Chhotanagpur Plateau in Eastern India lies on the so-called Tribal belt and is one of the poorest regions of India. Beginning in 1998, the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata and the International Rice Research Institute began research to examine the biophysical and socioeconomic factors constraining agricultural activity and household income in the region. This report provides an initial descriptive and quantitative analysis of the integrated biophysical and socioeconomic database constructed from this research. The report begins with brief overview of the geography and history of the study area, followed by descriptions of the main biophysical characteristics of the study area, such as climate, topography, soil, water availability, and the typology of land types in the area. The main cropping systems associated with each land type are identified. This research highlighted the importance of low scale variations in topography in explaining cropping systems. Part Two of the report reviews socioeconomic characteristics of the villages and of surveyed households. Key characteristics noted include the high incidence of poverty, the diversity of economic activities, and the small share of imputed household income derived from rice cultivation. The report concludes with a brief discussion of policy implications and avenues for future research in the study.

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