Beyond moving out: Rural poverty
dynamics in Nepal
Ramesh Sunam
04 November 2013
Research motivation
World Development Report 2008:
Agriculture for Development by World
Bank

“Livelihoods have become de-...
Repeasantisation or the death of peasantries?

The question of food security – a burning issue
Contextual motivation – why Nepal?





Economic growth around 4%
Political upheavals
Still poverty reduction?
Poverty...
Falling

Moving out

Accounting for Simultaneity
Source: Krishna, A. (2010)
Research questions
How is poverty (re)produced and reduced in the rural Tarai of
Nepal?
• To what extent have rural househ...
Methodology
 “Stages of progress” methodology – developed by Krishna (2010)
 Fieldwork– 50 interviews, 170 surveys
 Stu...
 “Stages of progress” methodology – for poverty dynamics
Stages of progress
1 Food for the family
2 Some clothes for fami...
Escaped poverty = Migration + Farming
Remained poor = Landless, Labourers
Proposition 1: Factors leading to poverty are quite different from that lifting
households out of poverty.
Reasons for esc...
Outmigration – labour migration

Source: ADS 2013



How about those who cannot migrate?
Falling into poverty

Reasons for descent

% of HHs falling into
poverty

Poor health and health

19

related expenses
Cul...
Proposition 2: While non-farm economy including outmigration led to
upward mobility, the ultra-poor heavily rely on land-b...
Proposition 3: While individual conditions have lifted people out of poverty but
structural factors (land, social structur...
Conclusion
 Understanding poverty from the lived experience of the poor
 Falling into poverty – little explored dimensio...
…turn their rural citizens from
landowners into landless
labourers?
THANK YOU
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Beyond moving out: Rural poverty dynamics in Nepal

  1. 1. Beyond moving out: Rural poverty dynamics in Nepal Ramesh Sunam 04 November 2013
  2. 2. Research motivation World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development by World Bank “Livelihoods have become de-linked from farming; poverty and inequality from land ownership; and poverty and inequality from occupation and activity” (Rigg 2006, p.198)
  3. 3. Repeasantisation or the death of peasantries? The question of food security – a burning issue
  4. 4. Contextual motivation – why Nepal?     Economic growth around 4% Political upheavals Still poverty reduction? Poverty dynamics – social exclusion and adverse incorporation What contributed to poverty reduction?
  5. 5. Falling Moving out Accounting for Simultaneity Source: Krishna, A. (2010)
  6. 6. Research questions How is poverty (re)produced and reduced in the rural Tarai of Nepal? • To what extent have rural households moved out and moved into poverty? • What factors rural people consider in explaining their mobility? • How glocal processes influence diversification, marginalisation, and commoditisation of land and labour, having profound ramifications for poverty?
  7. 7. Methodology  “Stages of progress” methodology – developed by Krishna (2010)  Fieldwork– 50 interviews, 170 surveys  Study site
  8. 8.  “Stages of progress” methodology – for poverty dynamics Stages of progress 1 Food for the family 2 Some clothes for family while going to towns or social functions 3 Sending children to school 4 Repairing the existing shelter (roof with iron sheets) 5 Covering basic medical expenses Poverty cut-off
  9. 9. Escaped poverty = Migration + Farming Remained poor = Landless, Labourers
  10. 10. Proposition 1: Factors leading to poverty are quite different from that lifting households out of poverty. Reasons for escape % of poverty escaping HHs Foreign labour migration Own 60 22/42 farming/sharecropping Small business 41 Government job 21 Private job including 25 labouring “…consigns the rural poor to continuing penury” (Rigg 2006, p. 195).
  11. 11. Outmigration – labour migration Source: ADS 2013  How about those who cannot migrate?
  12. 12. Falling into poverty Reasons for descent % of HHs falling into poverty Poor health and health 19 related expenses Cultural costs 48 (marriage, dowry, death rituals) Land loss 62
  13. 13. Proposition 2: While non-farm economy including outmigration led to upward mobility, the ultra-poor heavily rely on land-based livelihoods  The landless  Labouring – farm and off-farm  Access to market opportunities/private jobs – unreachable
  14. 14. Proposition 3: While individual conditions have lifted people out of poverty but structural factors (land, social structure; integration into local/global economy) explain immiseration and intergenerational poverty     The question of relational poverty Social exclusion Adverse incorporation These all give importance to land reform – access to land
  15. 15. Conclusion  Understanding poverty from the lived experience of the poor  Falling into poverty – little explored dimension but critical “Lives and livelihoods in the Rural South are becoming increasingly divorced from farming and, therefore, from the land” (Rigg 2006, p.180) “The state support…helped to lift the peasantry out of poverty and consolidate its middle-income position” (Walker 2012, p.36)  Access to land - tenancy reforms – terms and conditions  Informal economy – working conditions – wages
  16. 16. …turn their rural citizens from landowners into landless labourers?
  17. 17. THANK YOU
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