The role of Nepali carpet manufacturing industries in alleviating rural poverty : a case study of rural women workers : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Science in Agricultural Systems and Management at Massey University

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In 1996 Nepal had a per capita gross national product of $US200, the fourth lowest in the world. Nepalese rural women, like those in many developing countries, are even poorer than men. Further, their contribution towards household activities remain unrecognised and unmeasured. It is because of poverty that rural women have started to move from subsistence farming to the formal sector in order to better meet their economic needs. Regardless of how much labour women put into the agricultural sector, it has yielded very little cash income. The Nepali carpet manufacturing industry has provided employment for rural women. It is also a significant user of New Zealand crossbred wools. Wages earnt by rural women through the carpet industry contribute to the alleviation of rural poverty by increasing the total annual income of the households in which they reside. The purpose of this study was to determine the socio-economic impact of the carpet manufacturing industries on the well-being of rural women workers. In addition, the benefits of, and limitations to, rural women workers becoming involved in the carpet industries were accessed. Four levels of respondents were interviewed for the study: 5 key informants, 5 focusgroups (n=10) of rural women workers, 36 carpet manufacturers, and 144 rural women workers. The survey data were evaluated relative to a conceptual model developed to explain total annual household income, a proxy variable for rural poverty alleviation. The model included non-economic (social and demographic) and economic characteristics of households. Variables included in a multiple regression (reduced) model collectively explained 50% of the variation in total annual household income. Among all the non-economic and economic characteristics outlined in the conceptual framework, the number of working adults per household was most important in influencing household income. One person increased total annual household income by Rs 15,228 per annum and a 5% increase in total annual income was associated with additional savings by Rs 67.08 per month. It was concluded that the Nepali carpet industries have assisted in alleviating rural poverty amongst rural women through income generation. New Zealand wool exports to Nepal therefore appear to have an indirect positive benefit on rural households by enabling carpet industry expansion. Keywords: Nepal, carpet industries, rural women workers, total annual household income, and rural poverty alleviation. Title: The role of Nepali carpet manufacturing industries in alleviating rural poverty: a case study of rural women workers. Author: Sindhu Karki, 1997. Degree: Master of Applied Science.
Nepal, Economic conditions, Rural women, Industrialization, Rural development, Rug carpet industry, Rural poor, Social conditions