Agriculture in intergenerational relations: Ethnic Thai youth in northern Vietnam

Ethnic minority youth are deeply embedded in reciprocal support with their parents through
farming, even though young men are often absent, looking for casual labor work outside the
village. Drawing on the concept of intergenerational relations, this study illustrates gendered
experiences of a youth transition period with a specific focus on the interactions of youth with
parents and parents-in-law through agriculture. Findings show that young men and women
access cash, goods and services from their kin in exchange for unpaid labor in farming and
domestic work. The economic focus of research on agriculture as a source of income masks this
important aspect of agriculture within ethnic minority communities. Although married young
men and women in their 20s are not the formal owners of farmlands and livestock, they actively
negotiate with their parents and in-lawsto utilize agricultural resources to their benefits. Unpaid
youth labor in agriculture should be viewed as more than a simple problem of unemployment,
a lack of formal access to farmland, or a lack of individual skills. Instead, gendered experiences
of ethnically marginalized youth should be reflected in relevant policies and agenda settings to
support youth agriculture embedded in intergenerational reciprocal relations.

Citation: Kawarazuka N., Nguyen Thi Van Anh, Vu Xuan Thai (2021). Agriculture in intergenerational relations: Ethnic Thai youth in northern Vietnam. Social Sciences Working Paper No 2021-2. Lima, Peru: International Potato Center. 20 p.