Out migration from rural areas is increasingly becoming a strategy to get out of poverty. While rice–based agriculture remains to be the backbone in Southeast Asia, majority of the farming households particularly those who produce rice under rainfed conditions remain poor and insecure. This paper examines the relationship between migration and other socio-economic factors on household income using data from 1,874 rice sample farming households in Vietnam (north and south), Thailand (northeast) and Philippines (Luzon island). In the Philippines, remittances contribute about 60 per cent of household income of recipient families. In Thailand and Vietnam, these constitute about 40 per cent of total household income. International migration is most prevalent in the Philippines while rural to urban migration is more prevalent in Thailand and Vietnam due to rapid urbanization and industrialization as well as improved transport and communication networks. Migration has a positive and significant relationship on household income. Remittances both from internal and international migration are predominantly used to meet daily expenses including food, farm (inputs and payment of hired laborers) and children’s education. Given the stability and reliability of the flow or remittances, they play a significant role in consumption smoothing for the poor. Remittances partake the nature of insurance for use at times of need and ease credit constraints for investments in agriculture. Those who are left behind, the elderly and the women, manage to maintain rice yields at par with those households without migrants.
Paris, T. R., Rola-Rubzen, M. F., Luis, J., Chi, T. T. N., & Wongsanum, C. (2008). Comparative analysis of the impact of labor out migration and remittances on income and rice productivity in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. AARES 53rd Annual Conference,10-13 February 2008, Cairns, Australia.
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