Labour Markets and Income Stability of Smallholder Rubber Farmers: Evidence from Southwest China
Haowen Zhuang, Hermann Waibel
Leibniz University Hannover, Inst. of Development and Agricultural Economics, Germany
The expansion of rubber cultivation has been a driving force for poverty reduction in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture (XSBN), Southwest China. However, monoculture causes income variance due to rubber price fluctuations. In addition, since 2011, rubber price has decreased constantly. Hence, smallholder rubber farmers are challenged to diversify their income portfolio. With the rapid growth of labour markets in industry and service sector in China, complementary off-farm employment, which includes non-farm self-employment and off-farm wage employment, becomes an option for farmers. In this paper, we investigate the role of off-farm employment in stabilising household income of smallholder rubber farmers in XSBN. The specific objectives are: (1) to examine the factors influencing the participation in off-farm labour markets; (2) to explore the impacts of off-farm employment on rubber farmers’ income stability.
Keywords: Income stability, off-farm employment, smallholder rubber farmers, Southwest China
Contact Address: Haowen Zhuang, Leibniz University Hannover, Inst. of Development and Agricultural Economics, Koenigsworther Platz 1, 30617 Hannover, Germany, e-mail: zhuangifgb.uni-hannover.de