II. Forms of Multiple Employment

Depending upon family structure, farm structure and economic structure in the region, the most different forms of multiple employment result among farm families.

During my work in Asian countries, I noticed the following

a) Indvidual Income Combination

  • Cultivators of small farms take up off-farm employment as a
    main occupation or as a sideline
  • Cultivators of small farms work permanently or seasonally as
    rural labourers.

In the case of individual income combination, the two activities are carried out by the same person. This is necessary whenever there are no children nor other family members of working age. However, this situation causes many difficulties, because the demands of both activities must be adjusted. This is not always easy, considering the seasonable fluctuations in labour requirements in agriculture. Generally, due to the maintenance of animals, agriculture requires the farmer's daily presence in the locality so that the second occupation can only be carried out locally.

However, except in the vicinity of the towns, it is often difficult to find off-farm employment. This is, why in distant areas, the percentage of self-employed like craftsmen and shopkeepers is higher.

(b) Household or Family Income Combination

  • One or several sons take up an off-farm occupation
    • locally or in distant places
    • permanently or whenever they find work and contribute part
      or all of their income to the household.
  • Agriculture is practised only during part of a lifetime. Up to
    the age of 45 approximately, the son works outside while the
    father manages the farm. In the fifth decade of the sons life,
    the father becomes too old, so that the son must take over the
    farm cultivation.

    At that point of time, however, his own children are already in working age.

    Sometimes, during the second half of life, people have a claim to a pension from army or police force.

The household income combination opens the possibility of taking up an occupation even at distant places. The precondition is, that there are sons of working age, i.e. a specific situation in the family's life cycle. Moreover, the family's cohesion must still be strong enough so that the sons contribute at least part of their income. Since in most cases, the generation concerned is the first one employed off-farm, this often applies still. In addition, respect towards old people, which is very marked in Asian cultures and sometimes substantiated by religion, is helpful.

Recently, household income combination increased to a considerable extent, because more job opportunities have come up, especially in trade, transport and construction. The migration of workers to oil-producing countries is another example.

For quite a large number of families, the household income combination brought about an economio and social advancement. The additional income allows a higher standard of living and partly is invested in land, houses, buffalo and machines.

Naturally, this is the more possible, the greater the number of children of employable age. At the start of non-agricultural development, when additional employment is created, several sons are a means for the family to achieve economic improvement. Under these conditions, it is of interest to have many children.

(c) Extended Family Economy

Even if nuclear families migrate permanently, not only social but also economic relations often continue to exist with the other members of the extended family. Thus, families living in the urban obtain some of their basic foodstuffs from their parents farm as economic support or for sentimental reasons. Inversely, services are also offered in return, especially in form of remittances and help at harvest time. The first do not have to be regular but can also ensue at long, irregular intervals, for instance when actually required for investments. Many wells and tractors have not been financed by a loan, but by the relatives living in town and being asked to contribute after having been a long time the drawers of benefits.

(d) Remigration of Urban Population Groups

Whereas the cases described until now always concerned an expansion of employment outside agriculture, there are also cases in which non-farmers take-up agriculture additionally and thus hold several occupations. The reasons are manifold: available or inherited landed property can be one of these. The cheaper and healthier place of residence in the village or a liking for rural life and dealing with animals may play a role. The prestige of a residence in the countryside may be interesting for wealthy industrialist or businessmen. In many countries even now-a-days, deserving officers and civil servants are still given land by the government in reward and in appreciation. Investment in land are, despite the high price for land, sometimes interesting for rich people as they can distribute their wealth and save taxes.

As far as the number is concerned, these cases are rarer than those described up to now. They are important because the people

concerned often hold economic and political power and other farmers are effected by their activities. The effects can be positive as well as negative.

(e) Division of Labour within the Household

In remote areas, employment opportunities outside agriculture are often sparse, and in small farm areas there are few possibilities to work as farm labourer. The family's eventual reaction for improving its living standard is then to avoid expenses in satisfying its non-agricultural requirements by its own means. According to age, skill and inclination, activities are distributed within the family, thus causing specialisation. One deals personally with matters which previously or in other households were seen to by outsiders against payment: construction of houses, production of clothes and implements, and repairs. If the specialist of the family proves to be skilled, he may be approached by other households to do such work for payment or in exchange for other work. Thus, the transaction to income combination would be achieved. In this connection, the role of women in securing subsistence and the importance of women's work for maintaining the system are of great significance.