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Migration and animal husbandry: Competing or complementary livelihood strategies. Evidence from Kyrgyzstan


Schoch, N; Steimann, B; Thieme, S (2010). Migration and animal husbandry: Competing or complementary livelihood strategies. Evidence from Kyrgyzstan. Natural Resources Forum, 34(3):211-221.

Abstract

Animal husbandry and labour migration are important livelihood strategies for a large proportion of the rural population in developing countries. Up to now, the two strategies have usually been studied by looking at either one or the other; their interlinkages have rarely been examined. Based on a case study in rural Kyrgyzstan, the aim of this paper is to explore the links between animal husbandry and labour migration. Results show that for most rural households, livestock is crucial yet not sufficient to make a living. Therefore, many people diversify their income sources by migrating to work elsewhere. This generates cash for daily expenses and the acquisition of new livestock, but also leads to an absence of workforce in households. Yet since remittances usually exceed the expenses for hiring additional workforce, most people consider migration profitable. From a socio-economic point of view, migration and animal husbandry can thus be considered important complementary livelihood strategies for the rural Kyrgyz population, at least for the time being. In the long term, however, the failure of young migrants to return to rural places and their settlement in urban areas might also cause remittance dependency and lead to an increasing lack of qualified labour. From an environmental point of view, the investment of remittances into animal husbandry poses challenges to sustainable pasture management. Increasing livestock numbers in rural areas raise pressure on pasture resources. Since most people consider animal husbandry their main future prospect while continuing to use pastures in a fairly unsustainable way, this may further exacerbate the over-utilization of pastures in future.

Abstract

Animal husbandry and labour migration are important livelihood strategies for a large proportion of the rural population in developing countries. Up to now, the two strategies have usually been studied by looking at either one or the other; their interlinkages have rarely been examined. Based on a case study in rural Kyrgyzstan, the aim of this paper is to explore the links between animal husbandry and labour migration. Results show that for most rural households, livestock is crucial yet not sufficient to make a living. Therefore, many people diversify their income sources by migrating to work elsewhere. This generates cash for daily expenses and the acquisition of new livestock, but also leads to an absence of workforce in households. Yet since remittances usually exceed the expenses for hiring additional workforce, most people consider migration profitable. From a socio-economic point of view, migration and animal husbandry can thus be considered important complementary livelihood strategies for the rural Kyrgyz population, at least for the time being. In the long term, however, the failure of young migrants to return to rural places and their settlement in urban areas might also cause remittance dependency and lead to an increasing lack of qualified labour. From an environmental point of view, the investment of remittances into animal husbandry poses challenges to sustainable pasture management. Increasing livestock numbers in rural areas raise pressure on pasture resources. Since most people consider animal husbandry their main future prospect while continuing to use pastures in a fairly unsustainable way, this may further exacerbate the over-utilization of pastures in future.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:13 Aug 2010 10:45
Last Modified:26 Jan 2017 08:47
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0165-0203
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-8947.2010.01306.x
Official URL:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1477-8947.2010.01306.x/abstract

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