Weather shocks are a persistent challenge in India and other South Asian countries that rely on rainfed agriculture. These shocks adversely affect yields, reducing the demand for labor. In collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), researchers are testing the impact of stress-tolerant seeds like IR64 Drought, which have better yields than conventional varieties under weather shocks. From 200 villages in Jharkhand, researchers will identify 20 cultivators (400 total) and 10 landless laborers (200 total). Villages will then be randomly assigned to either receive a 2kg packet of IR64 Drought seeds or 2kg packets of basic IR64 seeds. Over three years, researchers have been conducting phone interviews with laborers and cultivators during four peak points of the season (in terms of labor use) to determine the impact on local labor markets. Researchers will keep track of daily wages, hours worked, employers, and tasks completed. Data will also be collected on crop yields and the dissemination of seeds to other village farmers. Results forthcoming.
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