Agricultural Development Economics


Understanding the dynamics of food insecurity and vulnerability in Himachal Pradesh
N.S. Bist, M. Tiwary, C.S. Vaidya, M. Punjabi, S. Vasan, M. Knowles, C.R. Lovendal, K.T. Jakobsen
Publication date
This paper documents the main findings of the vulnerable profiling work carried out in the State of Himachal Pradesh, India, as a mean to support the planning of food security and livelihoods promoting interventions at the state level. A similar study was undertaken in Orissa, India. The paper analyses the main characteristics and causes of food insecurity and vulnerability, seeking to identify who and where the vulnerable and food insecure are, why they are at risk of becoming food insecure and what options exist to reduce this risk. Using the sustainable livelihoods framework and collecting qualitative and quantitative data collection from four selected districts, the paper looks on the vulnerability of five livelihood groups, notably subsistence farming households, marginal commercial farming households, agricultural labouring households, migratory labouring households and pastoralist tribal households. Whilst Himachal Pradesh is comparably less food insecure, the paper shows that the state do face a range of challenges related to undernourishment and malnutrition. Anthropometric measures show that close to every second child under five in HP are underweight and 41 percent of adult women are anaemic, only slightly lower than the national figure. The study finds the main causes of food insecurity and vulnerability include increased fragmentation of land, limited or no access to welfare provisions and public services related to migration, weak infrastructure and lack of accessible credit institutions. Based on the findings of the analysis, the paper identifies key interventions to address the causes of food insecurity and vulnerability in Himachal Pradesh. These include increased investment in irrigation; improved extension services; ensuring social service provision and basic human welfare; and continued assurance of high levels of investment in constructing and maintaining rural infrastructure as a prerequisite for sustainable and broad-based economic growth. Finally, the paper includes recommendations on indicators to be monitored as part of a potential Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS) in Himachal Pradesh, focusing on a core set of indicators to be monitored at state and district level.
JEL Codes
Q18, Q19, O20