Reading remittance landscapes: female migration and agricultural transition in the Philippines

Deirdre McKay

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    In the Philippines, female migration for overseas contract work is transforming local agricultural landscapes. Yet the changes in land, labour, crops and cropping patterns that are occurring may not reflect local ecology or economic opportunity as much as they represent gendered versions of local modernity, envisioned at a new global scale. This study links local agricultural change to local interests in global migration and reads local landscapes as reflecting those links. Drawing on interviews and observations from a case study of a community in the northern Philippine province of Ifugao, this paper suggests how women's migration is both a cause and a result of a transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture. Migrating for waged work overseas, women withdraw their labour and knowledge from agriculture. At home, solo fathers usually choose to plant new, in-put intensive crops with the cash remittances they receive from their absent wives. Men's interests in 'modern' commercial crops may overdetermine their wives' preferences for more secure and ecologically sustainable cropping patterns. Tracing migrants' remittances into investment in crops and labour, the analysis ties female migration to household land-use decisions, suggesting how such decisions may undermine or enhance long-term agricultural sustainability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)89-99
    JournalGeografisk Tidsskrift, Danish Journal of Geography
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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