Off-Farm Employment in Southern Shan State. Research Highlights 15


February 15, 2019 - Zin Wai Aung, Hnin Ei Win, Zaw Min Naing and Soe Thu Lin

Zin Wai Aung, Hnin Ei Win, Zaw Min Naing and Soe Thu Lin. Off-Farm Employment in Southern Shan State. Food Security Policy Project Research Highlights, Myanmar 15, February 2019, East Lansing: Michigan State University.


Our study reveals the following key findings on off-farm employment and work in Southern Shan State.

1. Off-farm employment constitutes a key component of rural livelihoods. Sixty-two percent of households in our study area combine farming with non-farm employment income, while 14% rely solely on off-farm income. Off-farm work is particularly important for households with little or no land.

2. Agriculture is critical for off-farm employment. The majority of casual laborers (79%) are engaged in agricultural work. Women account for the majority of agricultural wage workers.

3. Men and women participate in each of the main categories of off-farm work in similar numbers, but tend to specialize in different activities within each category of work.

4. We find evidence of a gender wage gap. This is smaller than in other areas of Myanmar for casual agricultural labor, but larger in the case of non-farm casual labor.

5. Non-farm enterprises are common, but most generate quite modest incomes and employ little hired labor.

6. The share of men and women who operate non-farm enterprises are roughly equal. Yet, there is gender differentiation in the type of business activities and women more often start their enterprises with no or a relatively small amount of start-up capital compared to men.

7. Income from farming and casual labor are the main sources of startup capital for non-farm enterprises. Remittances and formal sources of credit are rarely to fund investments in these businesses.


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