The Linkages between Migration, Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have released a report that analyzes the direct and indirect interlinkages between migration, agriculture, food security and rural development. The report highlights the role of agriculture and rural development in addressing the adverse drivers of migration.

The study “The Linkages between Migration, Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development”  

focuses on several factors that influence rural people’s decision to migrate, including poverty, hunger, environmental degradation and climate shocks, conflict, economic factors and employment opportunities. As an illustration, the report describes the direct relationship between food security and migration, explaining that people often migrate to escape hunger. The report finds that when poor rural households are concerned about food security, they are most likely to decide that an adult should migrate in search of employment to reduce the family’s risk of hunger and extreme poverty. In addition, seasonal migration helps to “smooth out” income and food consumption.

The report highlights challenges and opportunities related to migration, from the impact of migration on the countries of origin and destination to the potential to capitalize on opportunities created by migration trends. In rural areas, remittances from migrants can help alleviate poverty and food security and promote investments in local economic opportunities.

The report estimates that remittances help to sustain millions of families globally. Conversely, the report cautions that rural to urban migration can have negative implications for agricultural productivity as a result of rural labor shortages and can further affect intra-household labor patterns and add to women’s work burdens.

The report further recommends investing in rural development, sustainable agriculture, climate change adaptation and resilient livelihoods to address the adverse drivers of migration from rural areas.

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