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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Rural migration, agriculture and rural development

Jeeyon Janet Kim
Jeeyon Janet KimFeinstein International Center, Tufts UniversityUnited States of America

Thank you for a timely and important report. Some comments/considerations by sections below.

Section 1.1

Define the term and scope of "food security"  which will help add the necessary nuance to the discussion of the multi-level bi-directional linkages between migration flows and food security.  In defining food security, some considerations to take note are:

  • Food security at what level? Global, national, household, or individual?
  • Which domains of food security? For example, Coates et al. 2006 breaks down household experiential domains of food insecurity as 1. insufficient quantity; 2. inadequate quality; 3. social unacceptability; and 4. uncertainty/worry.
  • Which duration of food security? Chronic vs. transitory vs. seasonal?

It would be immensely helpful to provide an overview of the conceptual and empirical linkages between migration and these different levels, time frames, and domains of food security.

Section 1.2/1.3

Include a discussion of the transnational migration experience (ex. some household members remaining behind in 'origin' rural areas) and discuss the legal and cultural context which underlie a household's 'decision' to migrate. Report should explicitly  note that migration is not just about those who go but also those who do not/cannot and the political, social, and economic context (see UN-INSTRAW's conceptual framework on gender, remittances, and development) of the migration experience.


  • Include gender- and age-specific (and other demographic chracteristics ex. caste/ethnicity) discussions throughout the report. For example, in Far West Nepal where male labor out-migration is a key livelihood strategy, our qualitative work has shown that the elderly population dependended heavily on the remittances sent back by their adult children to make ends meet. When remittances did not come (which was often the case), these respondents were unable to take up alternative casual labour opportunities (given their physical conditions) and had to rely on loans/credit and handouts from their neighbours. In failing to discuss the demographic groups which may be differently affected by the migration experience, their differential vulnerabilities and the policy/programmatic implications to support such groups may be overlooked.
  • There is a tendency to focus on the economic effects of migration experience, it would strengthen the report to include a thorough discussion the non-economic effects of migration on rural development (ex. social remittances; women's status/decision-making roles; children's educational attainment etc).
  • Please include findings and conclusions from quanititative, mixed methods, and qualitative studies
  • Vignetts/case studies in different contexts would be helpful to illustrate the report's major points and could help highlight specific examples.

Thank you and I look forward to reading the report.