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Seasonal migration is a common livelihood strategy among marginal and landless people of the western part of West Bengal. The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) and Census data have failed to provide information on seasonal migration and livelihoods at the micro-level. The present study focuses on the nature, characteristics and factors of seasonal migration with its importance as a livelihood strategy among women agricultural labourers (WALs) in Soul Ponamara mouza of Hirbandh block at the micro-level. The study is based on primary data collection using a purposive sampling method and a semi-structured questionnaire, personal interview and focus group discussion. This study reveals that seasonal migration from Soul Ponamara to the adjacent agriculturally prosperous districts viz. Purba Bardhaman and Hooghly (4 to 6 times in a year) is a common livelihood strategy among WALs in the study area, and its proportion is almost equal to when compared to male migrants. The small size of agricultural land holding, existing monoculture system, lack of irrigation facilities, a limited job opportunity in the Soul Ponamara mouza and its surrounding area (Amjhuri, Bijardihi, Chaka Doba, Moshiara, Bamni and Rangametia) provoke women labourers to move out in searching of works. In contrast, high wage and massive demand for skilled and semi-skilled agricultural labourers during sowing and harvesting season in the destination area, that is, paddy and potato fields of Purba Bardhaman and Hooghly districts acted as a magnet to absorb these immigrants into the workforce. This study concludes that seasonal migration opted for employment and income generation is the primary livelihood strategy adopted by the rural WALs of this mouza to cope up with the existing poverty and food insecurity.
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