This paper examines the household livelihood strategies under agrarian distress in Pulpalli Panchayat of Kerala. It also looks at the relationship between household assets and livelihood strategies. The negotiations of institutions by the marginalized and depressed sections of the society were analysed in detail.
Major causes of agrarian distress in the study area are the ecological degradation and fall in crops income. Land continues to be the most important asset determining livelihood outcomes. The livelihood strategies have been investigated in relation to land, education, housing pattern, investments & credit facilities, and participation in organizational activities. The livelihood strategies adopted by farmers in the wake of agrarian crisis includes diversification of agriculture, share cropping, organic farming, self-help group activities, cattle rearing, migration and exchange of labour. Livelihood strategies varied across socio-economic groups as farmers owning better landholdings diversified cropping patterns while poor households participated in the activities of SHGs. Casual agricultural labourers and marginal farmers moved to other places in search of jobs. Mitigation of agrarian distress requires public provision of education, health and other social safety measures.