The state of food and agriculture 2018: Migration, agriculture and rural development
The key focus of this year’s ‘The state of food and agriculture’ report (PDF), by FAO, is rural migration, which constitutes a considerable portion of both internal and international migration flows. Migration is part and parcel of economic, social and human development and a means of reducing inequality both within and between countries. All countries will be areas of origin, transit or destination for international migration. Globally, international migration is smaller than internal migration. International and internal migration flows share some of the same drivers and constitute an integrated system. In developing regions with high urbanization rates, rural migration accounts for at least 50% of internal movements. Rural out-migration can be a means of income diversification and adaptation mechanism to slow-onset environmental stressors. However, it is not often an option for the poorest. Rural areas host large number of displaced populations during protracted crises, leading to further challenges. This burden can be alleviated through rural development policies that focus on economic and social integration of migrants, resulting in outcomes that benefit both displaced people and their host areas. In many developed countries immigrants can help fill labour shortages in high-value agriculture activities that are difficult to mechanize. Implementing and enforcing regulatory schemes and programmes to protect their labour rights can help improve their working conditions. Policy coherence between migration and agriculture and rural development policies essential to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration. Policies should not aim to reduce or accelerate migratory flows, but rather to maximize the economic and social benefits while minimizing the costs to migrants and societies. Policy priorities relating to rural migration depend on country contexts that are continuously evolving: these will be different for countries in protracted crisis situations, countries where rural youth employment is a challenge, countries in economic and demographic transition, and for developed countries in need of migrant workers.
The report can be found in brief here.