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The gradual migration of rural population to cities is an inevitable result of the sustainable development of China’s society and economy. Going out to work is not only a personal behavior of farmers in line with this historical trend, and in the present moment, it is also an important measure to win the battle against poverty. Xundian Yi and Hui Autonomous County is located in the northeast of Yunnan Province. It is one of the key counties in China’s poverty alleviation and development work. Through the implementation of special measures to increase labor income, a total of 125 611 rural laborers were employed from 2014 to 2018, and as a result, a large number of farmers have been lifted out of poverty. However, under this model, the transfer of a large number of rural laborers also has an impact on the utilization of contracted land of migrant households, mainly demonstrated by land abandonment, decline in land use efficiency and decline in land productivity, which are not conducive to the sustainable use and protection of land resources. To this end, based on field research, this article analyzes the changes in the utilization of land of migrant households under the poverty alleviation model of working outside, as well as their impact. In addition, the questionnaire survey of the registered poverty-stricken households show that the area and productivity of land owned by households with migrant workers are on a downward trend compared to those before and those of households without migrant workers. Land transfer is a feasible means to solve this problem and to consolidate the achievements of poverty alleviation and sustainable use of land resources. It is suggested that great attention should be paid to the contract and management issue of land left by migrant households, establishment of efficient guarantee mechanism, improvement of land utilization and promotion of saving and intensive use of land resources to bring the land resources to their proper value.


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