This paper relies on information obtained from focal group discussions with 26 women involved in farming in four villages in the Sindh province of Pakistan. The sample was drawn from poor households possessing little or virtually no land. Focus group data were collected by using a semi-structured questionnaire. The main purpose of this paper is to identify factors that favour or impede these women taking of agricultural loans for development. The findings indicate that only women in one village had taken loans for the purpose of advancing agriculture. Distinct from other villages, the women in this village had developed strong social networks and were politically quite active. In the village Gagri, the presence of social capital played a major role in agricultural development and alleviated the poverty of their households. In the other villages, the poverty of the households of females participating in the focal focus group discussions remained entrenched. These women seemingly followed a pathway to poverty alleviation and agricultural wealth creation that could be followed by women from other villages. However, this would be a hasty conclusion because women from the other three villages face serious impediments to the creation of social capital, which are identified in this paper. An additional contribution of this paper is to identify the nature of agricultural loans and conditions, which restricted the ability and willingness of the women to take loans for agricultural development. This enables us to provide a grassroots assessment of their current situation as far as finance for women in agriculture is concerned. The results also enable us to suggest a new hypothesis (relevant to the Indian subcontinent) about the relationship between the likelihood of women from agricultural households forming social networks to promote agricultural development in order to reduce the poverty-level of their households. Moreover, the literature frequently expresses doubts about the view that male ownership of land is the major impediment to women obtaining loans for agricultural purposes. All land owned by households in this survey is owned by males. Furthermore, attention is brought to some of the difficult problems involved in measuring social capital and its components. These are often overlooked in the literature.


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