We test for the existence of a Poverty Nutrition Trap (PNT) in the case of calories and four important micronutrients — carotene, iron, riboflavin, and thiamine - for those agricultural workers who sow or harvest, and whether they are male or female. We use household level national data for rural India for the period January to June 1994 and robust sample selection procedures due to Heckman to arrive at consistent and efficient estimates. It is discovered that the PNT exists in ten cases. It exists for calorie deficiency for females who work in harvesting and sowing. In the case of carotene deficiency, male workers engaged in harvesting are subject to the PNT, whereas both male and female workers engaged in harvesting are subject to PNT in the case of iron deficiency. In the case of riboflavin deficiency, female workers engaged in harvesting and sowing and male workers engaged in harvesting are subject to PNT, and, in the case of thiamine deficiency, female workers engaged in harvesting and sowing are subject to PNT. Thus micronutrient deficiency is pervasive and has a significant impact on labour productivity of agricultural workers in rural India. In particular, female workers are more prone to PNT than male workers.
ASARC Working Paper 2006-3, 37 pp.