Migrating out of Poverty

Exploring the links between migration and poverty through research, capacity building and policy engagement

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Migrating out of Poverty at the Australasian Agri-food Research Network conference in Indonesia

Tuesday 5 December 9:00 until 17:00
Centre of Research and Community Services (CRCS), Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
Speaker: Julie Litchfield & Priya Deshingkar


The 24th International Conference of the Agri-food Research Network will take place from the 2-5 December 2017 in Bandung, Indonesia. The conference organisers explain:

Today, more than ever, developing and developed nations are sharing closer concerns (albeit with different contexts) when it comes to food and agriculture, depletion of arable land and agricultural resources, intergenerational gaps among farmers, and the changing face of the global food system. What can we do for the future of farming? And what can we learn from each other?

The conference sets out to explore some of these challenges.

We are delighted that Migrating out of Poverty will be involved in two sessions at the conference. On Tuesday 5 December, in a session on Reimagining Rural Myanmar, Julie Litchfield (with co-author Hannah Sam) will present on Migration and food security in Myanmar. This paper explores this primary data from a rural household survey collected in the first quarter of 2017 in four regions of Myanmar. Myanmar presents an interesting case study given both the size and importance of the rural sector and the pace of recent economic and political reform, including relaxation of migration controls. They estimate an econometric model of the impact of migration on food security of migrant-sending households using a dietary diversity score and other, qualitative, measures of food security, and provide insights into the way migration affects access to food. The paper pays particular attention to the methodological challenges in establishing a plausible causal relationship, and they also explore the nuances of the relationship by gender, destination of the migrant and the role of remittances in mediating the loss of family labour.

Later that day Priya Deshingkar (with co-author Wen-Ching Ting) will present their paper Precarity and Opportunity: Rural Livelihoods, Migration and Change in Myanmar. This presentation explores indepth qualitative research in four agro-ecologically and culturally diverse regions of Myanmar and shows that migration within the country and beyond is important for repaying debt, smoothing incomes and investing in housing, education and health in rural areas. At the same time migration brings many new risks that can set the family back. The focus of this paper is the links between migration, livelihoods, and life trajectories in rural areas. In theorising the findings they employ concepts of precarity, constrained agency, and the spatiality of agency. These allow them to undertake a socially embedded and spatial analysis of the decision to migrate into precarious conditions and show how it is linked to material and social aspirations, and outcomes in the village. The evidence is drawn from 95 interviews in four rural regions (Ayeyarwaddy, Mandalay, Shan and Rakhine State) and 30 in two urban destination cities (Yangon and Mandalay) in 2017.

 These papers arise out of research conducted under the Capitalizing Human Mobility for Poverty Alleviation and Inclusive Development for Myanmar (CHIME) project of which Priya is the principle investigator and qualitative research lead, Julie is the quantitative research lead, and Ting is the post-doctoral research fellow. The research is coordinated by the International Organisation for Migration, and funded by the LIFT programme. CHIME examines the role of migration in rural livelihoods in four regions of Myanmar using mixed methods containing a longitudinal element to capture seasonality and other dynamics of migration. 


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By: Sarah Blake
Last updated: Monday, 20 November 2017


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