ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Role of Social Capital in the Performance of Fish Businesses

Fisheries are an intensive sector that provide a livelihood to many people, including fisherfolk, retailers, head loaders and others. While the government has made attempts to improve the infrastructure, such as harbours and cold storage systems, there has been no investment in improving the fishers’ access to social capital. The analysis of survey data for 268 usable sampled fish retailers, 235 women and 33 men, clearly indicates substantial improvements in the profitability and business turnover when there is access to social capital. It is suggested that incorporating strategies which enhance social capital in the market institutions would restore and enhance the role of fisherwomen in the fish businesses.

In recent years, the concept of “social capital” has been seriously considered as one of the determining factors of economic growth (Knack and Keefer 1997). The concept has its origin in the West but finds its application mainly in third world countries, especially through the World Bank. Now, it is a widely used buzzword in the current discourses on development and is mentioned as the “missing link in development” by World Bank literature (World Bank 2000). Empirical studies show that returns on investment in land, labour and manufactured capital often do not account for economic performance, either at micro or macro levels. Even if we control the influence of human capital (Becker 1962), there remains a large unexplained gap in economic performance between communities, regions and countries (North 1990; Putnam 1993). ­Social capital theory suggests that this residual performance is due to social and cultural factors (Collier 1998), both at micro and macro levels.

Social capital has gained importance in rural development programmes, such as watershed, irrigation, microfinance, forest, health, education and such other activities throughout the world (Sangita 2008). Many studies have tried to establish the relationship between the successful implementation of development and welfare-oriented programmes with or without the focus on social capital (Putnam 1993; Knack and Keefer 1997; Narayan and Pritchett 1997). Most of the development projects in the marine fisheries sector have tried to concentrate on infrastructure development, such as fisheries harbours, landing centres, cold chain systems, markets, and subsidised supply of inputs to encourage the modernisation of fisheries. The state policy considered that such investment, like in other sectors, would bring the required economic growth.

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Updated On : 8th Jan, 2021

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