文章摘要
王璐瑶,廖桂蓉.虫草资源、农牧民家庭与生计脆弱化——来自西藏398户农牧民家庭的微观数据[J].民族学刊,2019,10(4):76-82, 122-124
虫草资源、农牧民家庭与生计脆弱化——来自西藏398户农牧民家庭的微观数据
Cordyceps Sinensis, Farmers-Herdsmen Families and Livelihood Vulnerability — Data of 398 Families in Tibet Autonomous Region
  
DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1674-9391.2019.04.09
中文关键词: 冬虫夏草  农牧民家庭  生计脆弱化
英文关键词: Cordyceps sinenfsis  families of farmers and herders  Livelihood Vulnerability
基金项目:
作者单位
王璐瑶 西南民族大学经济学院 
廖桂蓉 西南民族大学经济学院 
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中文摘要:
      鉴于虫草收入已成为很多高原人赖以生存的主要经济来源,本文试图通过对虫草经济的分析关注其背后的社会民生问题。通过对有虫草收入的398户西藏农牧民家庭的特征进行分析,进而考察虫草收入与农牧民家庭特征之间的关系,探讨了不同的农牧民家庭特征变量对虫草采集量和虫草价格的影响。研究结果表明:虫草收入已成为398户农牧民家庭收入的主要组成部分;抚养比越低的、物质资产(土地、牲畜)越少的、仅从事农牧业生产的家庭,规模越大的放牧家庭,采集虫草的数量会更多。抚养比越高的、物质资产越少的、规模越大的家庭,在牧区的家庭,销售虫草的价格会越高;另外,相对于仅从事农业生产的家庭,兼顾非农工作的家庭能获得更高的销售价格。最后,我们也指出,虫草资源给农牧民家庭带来的不只是可观的经济收益,还带来了生计脆弱化等问题。
英文摘要:
      When the market economy entered the lives of ordinary families living in the Tibetan plateau, people began to pay more attention to the cordyceps sinensis (popularly known as the caterpillar fungus) that grows on the plateau, and the cordyceps sinensis economy gradually became the main economic source for the survival of many people. However, because it is influenced by government policies, ecological environment and other factors, the cordyceps economy is unstable, a factor which affects the livelihoods of the families of many farmers and herders living in the high plateau area. If the cordyceps economy disappears, it will endanger the livelihoods of millions of people. These problems are worthy of our attention. Fortunately, many experts and scholars at home a abroad have begun to pay close attention to the economic phenomenon of cordyceps and the impact of cordyceps sinensis on the livelihoods of Tibetan farmers and herders. However, at present, only a few scholars have applied a quantitative method of analysis to investigate the relationship between cordyceps sinensis and the livelihoods of Tibetan farmers and herders. In view of this, based on the data gathered from questionnaires from the families of 398 farmers and herders with income deriving from cordyceps in the Tibet Autonomous Region, this paper, using a quantitative methodology, analyzes the relationship between characteristics of these families and cordyceps sinensis. The influence of the characteristic variables of different families on the quantity and price of cordyceps sinensis were discussed. This paper is also concerned about structural poverty and the fragility of the livelihoods of farmers and herders caused by relying on the single income from collecting cordyceps. Specifically, through the quantitative analysis of these 398 families with income derived from cordyceps, we found that: Firstly, in the primary cordyceps producing areas of Tibet Autonomous Region, income from cordyceps has become the main component of the income of the families of the farmers and herders. In these 398 families, the income from cordyceps accounts for almost half of their average annual cash income. Compared with middle income and poor families, the income of rich families that comes from cordyceps accounts for a higher proportion of their average annual cash income. If we compare the proportion of income derived from cordyceps between farming families and semi-farming and semi-pastoral families, the proportion of income derived from cordyceps in the income of pastoral families is significantly higher. Secondly, if we look at the relationship between the characteristics of families of farmers and herdsmen and the amount of cordyceps sinensis they collect, the lower the dependency ratio of the families of the farmers and herders is, the more cordyceps sinensis they collect; the more land, livestock and other material assets the family has, the less the amount of cordyceps they collect. The amount of cordyceps collected by households that engage in non-farm is much lower than that of households that work only in farming and animal husbandry. The increase in the family size of herders will increase the amount of cordyceps collecting. The expansion of the family size of non-herders will lead to the reduction of the collection of cordyceps by the family. Thirdly, regarding the relationship between characteristics of the families of farmers and herders and the price of cordyceps: the higher the dependency ratio of the families, the higher the selling price of cordyceps; the lower the material assets such as land and livestock, owned by the families, the higher the selling price of cordyceps. Compared with the herding families, those families who don’t herd get higher selling prices. Households that work engage in non-farm work get higher sales prices than those that work only in agriculture. Meanwhile, the larger the family size, the higher the selling price of cordyceps. In addition, we found that families of farmers and herdsmen in pastoral areas could sell cordyceps at a higher price, whereas families of farmers and herdsmen in semi-agricultural and semi-pastoral areas sold cordyceps at the lowest price. Generally speaking, those herders, who inherited the production and life experiences of their ancestors, are able to skillfully combine the collection of cordyceps with grazing. The production and life style of grazing makes them more likely to go to the grasslands where cordyceps grows, and better understand which grasslands are likely to produce cordyceps. This rich experience in collecting enables herding families to collect more cordyceps. In addition, collecting cordyceps is labor intensive, and because the larger herding families have more labor, they are able to collect more cordyceps and receive more income. It is well known that cordyceps collected at high altitudes is considered of higher quality, while that found in forests are not as valued. Therefore, families living in higher altitude pastoral areas can often collect better quality cordyceps, thus obtaining higher sales prices. However, the selling price of cordyceps sinensis is often cheaper if it is sold directly at the highland collection points. Larger families that are able to send family members to towns or counties to sell cordyceps will get higher selling prices. At the same time, larger families are usually able to cope with the high-level competition of cordyceps, and their family members are more likely to collect high-quality cordyceps by trekking to places farther away or to higher elevations, thereby obtaining higher sales prices. Indeed, the collection of cordyceps has brought considerable economic benefits to farmers and herdsmen’ families, and to some extent eased the poverty of these families. But, at the same time, we also found that, in the main areas where cordyceps sinensis is collected, heavy dependence on income received from cordyceps is leading to a problem of an increasingly fragile livelihood. First, due to the ecological limitations and geographical environment, it is difficult for farmers and herders in the main areas that produce cordyceps to promote rapid economic growth by vigorously developing agriculture and industry, as in other low-altitude areas, which can thus increase their income; Due to a lower level of education and language barriers and other factors, it is difficult for farmers and herdsmen families to gain an advantageous position in market competition. With the rising prices of production and daily necessities, many farmers and herders cannot rely on a single farming and animal husbandry industry to maintain their livelihood, and they tend to collect cordyceps to facilitate their consumption needs. Therefore, in the main cordyceps producing areas, a number of farmer and herder families mainly rely on collecting cordyceps to supplement their livelihood. However, due to the periodicity of economic development, changes in the ecological environment and other related policies, the income derived from cordyceps sinensis is becoming undiversified, and the heavy dependence on consumers from the mainland makes the livelihood of farmers and herdsmen increasingly vulnerable. Second, collecting cordyceps sinensis does not require any special technology, nor does it have the disadvantage of requiring a Chinese language skills and a higher education, nor does it need initial capital, and it can generate a large amount of cash in a very short time. Therefore, compared with the low wages and poor external labor market, farmers and herders who can dig cordyceps tend to give up the idea of going outside to work. In this way they lose the opportunity to improve their skills. Third, on the one hand, when in the fields digging cordyceps, children have the advantage of sharp eyes and quick hands, and they become the “right-hands” of their families. On the other hand, the enrollment rate of students in the main areas of cordyceps sinensis is low, especially the enrollment rate of college entrance examination, and unemployment is severe. Because children are important in collecting cordyceps, the families of some farmers and herdsmen are not very enthusiastic about investing in their children’s education. This will inevitably further affect the improvement of their children’s human capital, thereby weakening the market competitiveness of the next generation of farmers and herders.
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