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Gendered Roles in Agrarian Transition: A Study of Lowland Rice Farming in Lao PDR

Magnus Moglia (), Kim Alexander (), Silva Larson (), Anne (Giger)-Dray (), Garry Greenhalgh (), Phommath Thammavong (), Manithaythip Thephavanh () and Peter Case ()
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Magnus Moglia: Center for Urban Transitions, Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn 3122, Victoria, Australia
Silva Larson: School of Science and Engineering, University of Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore 4558, Queensland, Australia
Anne (Giger)-Dray: Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems (ITES), ETH Zürich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Garry Greenhalgh: College of Business, Law & Governance, James Cook University, Townsville 4811, Queensland, Australia
Phommath Thammavong: Faculty of Agriculture, Nabong Campus, National University of Laos, Vientiane Capital P.O. Box 7322, Laos
Manithaythip Thephavanh: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Urrbrae 5064, South Australia, Australia
Peter Case: College of Business, Law & Governance, James Cook University, Townsville 4811, Queensland, Australia

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 13, 1-20

Abstract: Traditional lifestyles of lowland rice farmers of the southern provinces of Lao People’s Democratic Republic are rapidly changing, due to two important trends. Firstly, there is a push towards modernization and commercialization of farming. Secondly, though farmers still focus on rice farming as a key activity, there is an increasing move towards diversification of livelihoods. The changes have seen the uptake of non-rice crops, livestock husbandry and forest and river utilization; as well as non-farming activities. This has influenced gender relations, impacting household agricultural production decisions and amplified transitional trends. To explore the processes, we analyzed data from a study of innovation adoption amongst rice farmers in southern Lao PDR. The study revealed nuances of gender-based differences in the priorities and attitudes towards farming and off-farm activities, as well as differences in behaviour related to the adoption of new practices. Women were more focused on non-farming practices and considered engaging in the modern, non-traditional, economy more so than men. Women also reported experiencing greater challenges when engaging and trading in the agricultural marketplace. The study supports the importance of taking a gendered approach to understanding the inherent complexities within agrarian change.

Keywords: rice; gender; smallholder farmers; technology adoption; Lao PDR; innovation diffusion; agrarian transition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:12:y:2020:i:13:p:5403-:d:380164