Landscape and Urban Planning

Agricultural shocks and drivers of livelihood precariousness across Indian rural communities


Spatial factors, such as environmental conditions, distance to natural resources and access to services can influence the impacts of climate change on rural household livelihood activities. But neither the determinants of precarious livelihoods nor their spatial context has been well understood. This paper investigates the drivers of livelihood precariousness using a place-based approach. We identify five community types in rural regions of the Mahanadi Delta, India; exurban, agro-industrial, rainfed agriculture, irrigated agriculture and resource per- iphery by clustering three types of community capitals (natural, social and physical). Based on this typology, we characterise the associations between precarious livelihood activities (unemployment or engagement in agricultural labour) with agricultural shocks and household capitals. Results demonstrate that, the type of com- munity influences the impact of agricultural shocks on livelihoods as four of the five community types had increased likelihoods of precarious livelihoods being pursued when agricultural shocks increased. Our research demonstrates that the bundle of locally available community capitals influences households' coping strategies and livelihood opportunities. For example, higher levels of physical capital were associated with a lower likelihood of precarious livelihoods in agro-industrial communities but had no significant impact in the other four. Results also indicate that agricultural shocks drive livelihood precariousness (odds ratios between 1.03 and 1.07) for all but the best-connected communities, while access to household capitals tends to reduce it. Our results suggest that poverty alleviation programmes should include community typologies in their approach to provide place-specific interventions that would strengthen context-specific household capitals, thus reducing livelihood precariousness.

Landscape and Urban Planning
Livelihoods Typologies Spatial planning Agricultural shocks Remote sensing Policy