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Impact of Health on Farm Production in West Bengal, India

Author:AMRITA GHATAK & S. MADHESWARAN

The paper examines the impact of farmers’ health status on farm production at selected villages in West Bengal, India. Using a household production function model, the study finds that health status as measured by the number of sick-days reduces farm production. However, nutritional dimension of health indicated by BMI does not influence the farm production significantly. The issue has been further analysed using a profit function approach. The findings are consistent with other studies in which individuals with BMI as low as 16 are found to be healthy and actively participating in agricultural work. Although health status appears to be a significant determinant of farm profit for the marginal farmers, it is not so significant for the farmers with relatively large holdings of cultivable land. The study further reports that the disparity between agricultural wages and wages offered by MGNREGS programmes in the sample villages makes the farming activity less attractive and hence, increase in enrolment in MGNREGS work seems to have a negative impact on farm profit per unit of land.

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