RURAL LIVELIHOOD STRATEGIES AND THE FIVE CAPITALS: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF SELECT VILLAGES IN TAMIL NADU
Rural households in developing countries face several livelihood risks. In their struggle to achieve a secure livelihood, households try to cope with and even to mitigate or prevent such risks. Whether they succeed in this struggle or not is so decisive of the sustainability or vulnerability of their very livelihood. This paper attempts to assess the livelihood strategies adopted and the five capital assets of the rural households in select villages of Udumalpet Taluk of Tiruppur District in Tamil Nadu. A sample of 148 from Chinnakumarapalayam and 202 from Ganapathipalayam were selected at random using a structured questionnaire. Of the five asset pentagon, human capital was the least owned asset and physical capital the highly accessed asset in both the sample villages. Among the three popularly adopted livelihood strategies, the farming strategy was the most endowed in terms of assets. The weakest livelihood strategy as regards asset endowment was the off-farm livelihood strategy followed closely by the non-farm strategy.
On the determinants of livelihood outcomes, the OLS regression results show that household incomes were positively influenced by family size and farm size in Chinnakumaraplayam and the alternate livelihood strategies in Ganapathipalayam village. The influence by variables like social group and alternate livelihood in Chinnakumaraplayam and caste, marital status and farm size was negative but significant. This revealed that the farming and off-farming strategies in Chinnakumaraplayam and non-farm strategy in Ganapathipalayam improved the livelihood outcomes. The general conclusion of this paper is that adopting livelihood diversification would be a positive step and an antidote to the rural people in general and the poor in particular.
KEYWORDS: Rural households, Livelihood, Human Capital, income, Farmers,