Women's Self-Help Groups, Decision-Making, and Improved Agricultural Practices in India: From Extension to Practice

IFPRI Discussion Paper 1735

42 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2018

See all articles by Kalyani Raghunathan

Kalyani Raghunathan

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Samyuktha Kannan

M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation

Agnes R. Quisumbing

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: June 29, 2018

Abstract

This research was undertaken as part of the Women Improving Nutrition through Group-based Strategies (WINGS) study, and was aimed at understanding ways to improve agricultural practices among women farmers in India. Effective agricultural extension is key to improving productivity, increasing farmers’ access to information, and promoting more diverse sets of crops and improved methods of cultivation. In India, however, the coverage of agricultural extension workers and the relevance of extension advice is poor. We investigate whether a women’s self-help group platform could be an effective way of improving access to information, women’s empowerment in agriculture, agricultural practices, and production diversity. We use cross-sectional data on close to 1000 women from 5 states in India, and employ nearest-neighbor matching models to match self-help group (SHG) and non-SHG women along a range of observed characteristics. We find that participation in an SHG increases women’s access to information and their participation in some agricultural decisions, but has limited impact on agricultural practices or outcomes, possibly due to financial constraints, social norms, and women’s domestic responsibilities. SHGs need to go beyond provision of information to changing the dynamics around women’s participation in agriculture to effectively translate knowledge into practice.

Keywords: India, South Asia, Asia, Agricultural Extension Services, Self Help, Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index, Empowerment, Information, Agriculture, Women, Access to Information, Agricultural Practices, Self-help Groups

Suggested Citation

Raghunathan, Kalyani and Kannan, Samyuktha and Quisumbing, Agnes R., Women's Self-Help Groups, Decision-Making, and Improved Agricultural Practices in India: From Extension to Practice (June 29, 2018). IFPRI Discussion Paper 1735. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3240193

Kalyani Raghunathan (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Samyuktha Kannan

M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation ( email )

3rd Cross Street, Taramani Institutional Area
Korapu
Chennai, 600113
India

Agnes R. Quisumbing

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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