Working Paper 164
Migration and Agricultural Production in a Vietnamese Village
Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, Jonathan Rigg, Annuska Derks
Department ‘Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia’
Year of publication
Number of pages
Working Paper 164
This paper explores the links between migration and changes in household agricultural production in Vietnam during the reform period (1986–2012) through a case study of Quỳnh Đôi village, Quỳnh Lưu District, Nghệ An Province. Since reforms were first introduced, many villagers have left Quỳnh Đôi to work in cities, industrial zones or to find employment abroad. The migration process has transformed labour structures and supply in many households, leading to changes in household agricultural production across two main dimensions. First, renting or exchanging agricultural land has become common between households in Quỳnh Đôi, and between Quỳnh Đôi villagers and villagers of Quỳnh Thanh – a neighbouring commune. This renting/exchanging of agricultural land has helped to re-distribute land among households that would otherwise be rich in land and poor in labour, or vice versa. These transactions have not been purely market-based but carried out mainly through verbal agreements, which depend on networks of social capital and associated notions of trustworthiness. Second, because many farm labourers have migrated, and notwithstanding the renting/exchanging of land and a degree of mechanisation, households require additional human labour for agricultural production. Facing this situation, various forms of labour exchanges have emerged. Migration has, therefore, become an important generator of change in farming in Quỳnh Đôi village, emphasising the need to see agricultural change in terms of both new rural-urban relations and interactions and the way that these intersect with established social norms and networks.