Thelma R. Paris, Joyce S. Luis1, Truong Thi Ngoc Chi2, Maria Fay Rola-Rubzen3
International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos, Laguna Philippines1; Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute, Omon District, Mekong Delta, Vietnam2; Muresk Institute, Curtin University of Technology, Australia3
Vietnam is one of the major rice-producing countries in Asia, and since 1989 it has been a rice-exporting country. However, poor rice-farming households that depend primarily upon their own labor for farming face significant constraints on production that push members to migrate. Out-migration could have effects on agricultural production and household welfare. This study was conducted to draw correlations across migration, livelihoods, farming outcomes, and gender roles to derive gender-responsive policy recommendations for action in rice-producing villages of the Mekong Delta in the south and Red River Delta in the north. Results revealed that labor out-migration was highest in the rainfed villages in the south where the poor are located. Remittances comprised significant proportions of total household income, often more important than rice income, as was the case in the north. The effects of out-migration on family members left behind, particularly women, depend on the characteristics of the migrant, the duration of absence of the migrant, use of remittances, and women’s access to productive resources. The findings of this study have far-reaching implications for gender-responsive research and extension programs dealing with rice-based farming systems in Vietnam and other Asian countries that face labor shortages due to out-migration from rural areas.
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