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
main occupation or as a sideline
- Cultivators of small farms work permanently or seasonally
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
or all of their income to the household.
- Agriculture is practised only during part of a lifetime.
the age of 45 approximately, the son works outside while
father manages the farm. In the fifth decade of the sons
the father becomes too old, so that the son must take over
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,
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
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.