Rural Out-Migration and Smallholder Agriculture in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes

Clark L. Gray, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A long-running debate has weighed the implications of rural out-migration for human development and environmental conservation in origin areas of migration, including the implications for smallholder agriculture. Studies of the effects of out-migration on smallholder agriculture have found a mix of positive and negative effects on migrant-sending households, but have not consistently addressed the role of gender or differences between internal and international migration. This study draws on household survey data from the southern Ecuadorian Andes and a series of regressions to investigate the effects of out-migration and remittances on smallholder agriculture, including maize production, agrodiversity, female participation in agriculture and the use of land, labor and chemical inputs. The results indicate that out-migration and remittances tend to have countervailing effects on agricultural activities in the study area, but with distinct effects from male and female out-migration as well as from internal and international remittances.

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Presented in Session 61: Impacts of Migrant Remittances on Origin