Labour outmigration, agricultural productivity and food security: Household agriculture and migration surveys 2015

Ghimire, Dirgha (2019). Labour outmigration, agricultural productivity and food security: Household agriculture and migration surveys 2015. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-852537

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We propose to investigate the consequences of labour outmigration on agricultural productivity in a poor agricultural country persistently facing food security problems. We aim to answer three high-priority scientific and policy questions: To what extent (a) Does labour outmigration influence (i) agricultural productivity, (ii) women's participation in farming, and (iii) exit from farming? (b) Do remittances influence (i) farm technology use, (ii) women's participation in farming, and (iii) exit from farming? (c) Do farm technology use and exit from farming influence subsequent outmigration? With an estimated 214 million people l--mostly from poor agricultural regions to more industrialized countries-international migration is a key concern in scholarly and policy arenas. This unprecedented phenomenon has wide-ranging consequences both for migrant-sending and receiving locations. This study focuses on one specific, but crucial consequence - the impact of labour outmigration on agricultural productivity in migrant-sending areas. As the agriculture productivity in poor subsistence economies is closely connected with one of the world's epidemic problems: food security. FAO estimated about 870 million people were undernourished in the period 2010-12. The vast majority of these - 852 million live in developing countries. Thus, increased agricultural productivity in poor countries is a key tool for alleviating this problem. This proposed project aims to better understand the relationship between labour outmigration and agriculture, providing crucial information for scientific and policy development of food security concerns. Understanding the link between outmigration and agriculture is complicated by the fact that migration does not happen randomly. Additionally, changes in agricultural practices and migration are likely to influence each other. Thus, the empirical demands for adjudicating potential reciprocal relationships are high, limiting the ability of previous research to speak to these questions. To address this complication, we will leverage the Chitwan Valley Family Study (CVFS), a case control comparison design at the community level with a 15-year panel study of a stratified systematic sample of communities, households, and individuals in Nepal. This unusual panel study enables us to address the non-random selection of individuals into migration. Furthermore, the case control design is particularly powerful for controlling macro-level effects (e.g. climate, prices, and policies) to detect the effect of change and variation in the phenomena of interest: farm labour loss, remittances, farm technology use, agricultural productivity, and women's participation in farming. Despite the wealth of panel data, answering our specific questions requires a modest level of new data collection. Our proposed panel measurement will involve multi-mode mixed methods data collection with appropriate temporal order and timing precision necessary to assess the relationships31. This study will generate high quality scientific outcomes that will be widely disseminated around the world. These outcomes are (i) comprehensive panel data with potential to address perplexing methodological problems; and (ii) empirical evidence of the consequences of labour outmigration, agricultural productivity, and its interplay with gender. First, the data will be made available through ICPSR and UK Data Service and publications through websites will be provided to broader audiences. Second, the findings will be disseminated among the scientific communities through presentations at national and international conferences and publication of scientific articles, research briefs, and policy briefs. Finally, our capacity building training will also enhance scientific and analytical capacity of faculty and scientists of host country institutions (AFU, NARC and others).

Data description (abstract)

Using the Chitwan Valley Family Study (CVFS) existing surveys and national surveys (Demographic Health Survey and Nepal Living Standard Survey), we designed a 43-minute Household Agriculture and Migration Survey. This survey includes information on household agricultural practices, including crop production and farm technology use, wealth, assets, income, consumption, food security and information about each household member currently away from home, and remittances received by the household. In addition, an Agriculture and Remittance Calendar was designed to collect retrospective data on farming/non-farming status, crop production, land under cultivation, farm technology use, migration and remittances from 2006 through July 2015 matching with the agricultural production data collection in 2006. This draft survey was rigorously pre-tested in 50 households before data collection was launched. The first wave of the survey was administered to 2,255 households residing within 151 CVFS sample neighborhoods July 15, 2015 through December 20, 2015. Data collection for the first wave is complete with a response rate of 98.2%. These data are part of the Labour Outmigration, Agricultural Productivity and Food Security project data collection, which also includes the Women's Time Use Survey data (see Related Resources). Households that participated include the women surveyed in the related data collection. Data from five additional waves of the Household Agriculture and Migration Survey are also complete. The first wave of the survey was administered to 2,208 households beginning in September 2015 with a response rate of 99.7%. The second wave of the survey was administered to 2,196 households beginning in March 2016 with a response rate of 99.2%. The third wave of the survey was administered to 2,187 households beginning in June 2016 with a response rate of 99.0%. The fourth wave of the survey was administered to 2,185 households beginning in October 2016 with a response rate of 99.0%. The fifth and final wave of the survey was administered to 2,173 households beginning in March 2017 with a response rate of 99.0%. To create measures of agricultural productivity, we also measured yields of major crops grown by farm households. The measures were collected across two seasons in 2015-2017 for lentil, maize, mustard, rice and wheat with a response rate of over 97%. Last, a monthly demographic event registry was administered to all households residing within the 151 CVFS sample neighborhoods from March 2015 through January 2017 with a response rate of 97%. The registry monitored outmigration, births, deaths, marriages, and other population events.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Ghimire Dirgha University of Michigan
Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: ES/L012065/1
Topic classification: Natural environment
Demography (population, vital statistics and censuses)
Labour and employment
Keywords: Farming, Agriculture, labour migration, women's employment
Project title: Labour Outmigration, Agricultural Productivity and Food Security
Grant holders: Dirgha Ghimire, Prem Bhandari, Humnath Bhandari, William Axinn, Rebecca Thornton
Project dates:
1 October 201430 September 2017
Date published: 25 Feb 2019 14:36
Last modified: 25 Feb 2019 14:37

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