Migration, Rural Poverty and Community Natural Resource Management in Cambodia

Cambodia has a long history of migration, dislocation and forced resettlement. Years of strife and turmoil, rapid population growth, and agricultural development have led to a situation where most irrigated and flood-fed land is under cultivation. Land ownership is becoming increasingly skewed and landlessness is growing. In many cases rural labour mobility is an active choice, a diversification strategy based on (rural) labour availability and (urban) work opportunity that contributes to household income and wellbeing. However, there is increasing evidence that loss of land due to accumulated debt and illness forces entire households into distress migration.

A wide range of government and donor policies help shape migration. Nevertheless, migration is generally perceived as an independent phenomenon over which policy has little control. There is a need to assess government policies for their impact on migration and in turn, the incidence and severity of poverty.

This grant will allow researchers at the Royal University of Phnom Penh to examine the relationship between labour mobility and distress migration, and natural resource management. It will place the migration phenomenon in the context of cyclical household processes, community social capital, broad agrarian change, and government and donor policies. The research will explore how different forms of population mobility affect the management of agricultural land and other resources, where these are held by households or managed under externally promoted community-based arrangements.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, May 16, 2008

End Date

Monday, August 16, 2010


24 months

IDRC Officer

De Plaen, Renaud

Total funding

CA$ 195,470


Cambodia, Far East Asia, Central Asia, South Asia


Agriculture and Food Security

Project Leader

Ngin Chanrith


Royal University of Phnom Penh, State-run University

Institution Country


Institution Website