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What is the impact of out-migration for employment purposes on peoples and land?


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Presented by Bimbika Sijapati Basnett of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) at the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, on 21 March 2018 in Washington, DC

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What is the impact of out-migration for employment purposes on peoples and land?

  1. 1. What is the impact of out-migration for employment purposes on peoples and land? Bimbika Sijapati Basnett, CIFOR Samata Manandhar, Forest Action Nepal 21st March, 2018; Land and Poverty Conference; World Bank, Washington DC
  2. 2. Outline • Trends, trajectories, debates, and gaps • ‘Birds eye view’ and ‘zooming in’ • Research site and context o Who is going and who is left behind? o Socially differentiated engagement in migration o Effects on agriculture and forestry o Future prospects for left behind • Policy considerations
  3. 3. Overview of migration trends and trajectories - Largest recipient of foreign remittance as a percentage of GDP - Over 1000 men migrate everyday - Women only 4.5% of workers (DOFE 2014) - At least 1 migrant worker abroad or a returnee in half of all households (World Bank 2011)
  4. 4. Research on the effects of large-scale migration • Debate - Contributing to much needed economic growth or asign of deep-rooted economic and political problems in the country? (World Bank 2014 and 2016) • Coinciding with decline in contribution of agriculture to economy (only 60%). • Debate - Land abandonment or heightened speculation over land? • Recent research - Socio-ecological landscapes (Chattre et al. 2008), reduced food production (Tuladhar et al. 2014, Ojha et al. 2016), Layered effects on poverty reduction (Sunam and McCarthy 2015). • Effects on women left behind– burden or an opportunity for empowerment? BUT Gender and generational dimensions? Conflict or cooperation?
  5. 5. Research question and methods How is large scale migration for employment purposes contributing to land and social change? Research methods – census, survey, FGD, SII and oral histories Zooming in • Social dynamics - two social groups, historical patron client relationship, skewed land ownership, sharecropping, practice of untouchability.
  6. 6. Who goes and who is left behind? Why? Male-dominated, but distinct patterns by ethnicity Elderly, women and children are left behind. Role of norms, division of labor, market asymmetries in gender exclusion 32.4 42.3 8.5 12.7 4.2 87 4 0 9 0 0.00 10.0020.0030.0040.0050.0060.0070.0080.0090.00100.00 Gulf countries Gulf and lucrative… Others International migration by ethnicity Dalit Gurung “Only loose women migrate.” “There are no decent jobs for women” “What is the point of women migrating. Who will look after our homes, our land, our children and our aging in-laws if we leave?” “Men have to work hard as long as they can”
  7. 7. Modes of Incorporation in Migration Gurung • Most working age men have left • Second generation of migration, • Migration – aspiration and choice. • Generational conflict Dalit • Rising rates of migration • Destination and employment • ‘Fears and hopes of migration’ • Risks, split households, education and prospects for next generation
  8. 8. Effects on agriculture and forestry: Mediated by gerontocratic structures Agriculture • Remittance dependence. • Limited investment on agriculture (7th rank, only 33%). • Increase in food bought than produced. • Over 25% of land ‘fallow’ • Chronic labor shortage • Stickiness of wages and land Forestry • Lowered dependence on fuelwood but no substitution • Marginal private land • Community forest - Elderly male domination; Withdrawal of support for monitoring, enforcement,
  9. 9. Left behind: Future prospects “All my children have left the village…they come during the Dasain holidays…we feel very happy when they are here. But when they leave, we cannot sleep for days. Who will take care of us? How will we survive?” (Gurung elderly woman, one of the largest owners of land in the village) “My husband is uneducated. If he is able to get a slightly better job than the one that he has right now, maybe my life will be more bearable. But I don’t see my life improving substantially in the near future”. (Dalit woman left behind, husband struggling migrant worker in Qatar, 2 children)
  10. 10. Policy considerations: Moving beyond silos • Revitalizing rural • Equipping the left behind women • Tackling deep-rooted inequalities • Investing in social protection and care
  11. 11. Sita’s Story
  12. 12. THANK YOU Thank you