Shifting perceptions of food security and land in the context of labour out-migration in rural Nepal

H.N. Gartaula, A. Niehof, L.E. Visser

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This paper presents the results of a survey of the livelihoods of people living in the eastern part of the subtropical plains of Nepal, known as the terai. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches were used in the survey and further data were obtained through focus group discussions, in-depth interviews with key informants and participant observations. Changes were recorded both in the perception of agricultural and residential land for a secure living and the meaning given to food security. The principal drivers causing these changes were voluntary out-migration for remunerative employment, urbanization and the reluctance of members of the younger generation to farm, which they regard as a “dirty job”. In consequence, people’s livelihood practices and access to food are gradually shifting from an agriculture-based economy to an economy that is based on other sources of income, including remittances from out-migrants. This development threatens not only the role of agriculture in rural livelihoods but also the food security of the country
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-194
JournalFood Security
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012



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