Home Institution

Middlebury College

Publication Date

Spring 2020

Program Name

Nepal: Development, Gender, and Social Change in the Himalaya


Rural Nepal is experiencing rapid demographic changes, significantly impacting the socioeconomic and agricultural landscape of these areas. Growing percentages of the male population are migrating out of the country in search of better livelihood opportunities. This is largely a result of poor development processes and governmental policies that have failed to create adequate domestic livelihood opportunities and incentives to work in agriculture, as well as changing ideas on what it means to be successful, spurred by globalization. Further, dominant neoliberal ideology and the commercialization of agriculture is decreasing the profitability of agriculture, making migration a lucrative option. Due to out-migration, rural areas are experiencing serious labor shortages, therefore impacting food security and food sovereignty. When men migrate, remittances allow for short-term food security, however declining agency over what and how crops are farmed due to the de-intensification of farming practices is eroding food sovereignty. Further, while short-term food security for some may be achieved, it is due to a reliance on cheap imported food that is dangerous and unsustainable. This impacts people of varying castes and exacerbates the vulnerability of both migrating and non-migrating families. This may lead to serious nation-wide consequences in the future.


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Agricultural Economics | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Food Security | Migration Studies | Politics and Social Change | South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies


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