Topic: Assessing the impact of agricultural modernization on peasant livelihoods in a southern Anhui rice-growing township
PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, University of Washington
The southern Anhui township of Pingpu began undertaking state-led agricultural modernization development work in 2007. Since then, over 70% of the arable land in the township has been levelled and consolidated, and 80% of that land has been transferred to dahu. Drawing on over five months of fieldwork conducted in Pingpu beginning in 2014, including 100 interviews, the speaker has found that this work has produced mixed results for Pingpu’s peasantry. While the half of most villagers that had previously transferred their land to family and neighbors experienced modest increases in their rents, the half that had relied on farming for their livelihoods have seen their incomes drop by 60-80%. Many male heads-of-households are for the first time now pressed to seek wage labor in nearby cities, leaving their wives at home to manage households, including the care of grandchildren. What do these changes mean for the short and long-term future of the peasantry and agriculture in China ?