The use of labor force in agriculture derives from the nature of the agricultural production and characterizes as follows: unevenness in the use of labor related to the seasonality of agricultural production; heavy working conditions determined by the unfavorable impact of climatic factors; lack of adequate social infrastructure in rural areas; the necessity of high qualification, since the agricultural workers are dealing with biological objects (plants, animals) that makes high demands on the quality of work; the demand for timely implementation of technological operations which is determined by the cycles of development of plants and animals; low social valuation of agricultural labor; extensive use of low paid labor of women and pensioners as well as teenagers; low level of mechanization and automation of agricultural production; relatively low labor productivity in agriculture compared to other branches of the national economy; the demand to attract significant numbers of seasonal and temporary workers in the rush periods; low prestige of labor in agricultural production among young people due to the lack of 8-hours working day and high volume of unskilled work as well as low wage. Heavy working conditions in agriculture and relatively low pay compared to other sectors of the economy as well as lack of adequate social infrastructure in countryside leads to migration of rural population to cities. We can treat migration of rural population to cities is a process of movement of large groups of rural inhabitants into urban settlements due to political, financial, economic and environmental as well as social factors. Migration of the rural population and especially young people to cities has negative socio-economic consequences, which should include the following: exacerbating the shortage of labor force in agriculture; in the absence of administrative restrictions leads to uncontrolled growth of cities; causes the appearance of illegal, spontaneous settlements within the boundaries of the cities; leads to aggravation of environmental situation in cities; leads to aggravation of traffic and transportation problems in cities; leads to increased tension in the social, racial and ethnic relations in cities;stimulates the growth of unemployment in the cities; leads to aggravation of criminal situation in cities. Migration is also influenced by the land and agricultural policy and, above all, the consolidation of agricultural land. Agricultural Land Consolidation is a merging, enlargement, eliminating of mosaic land ownership and improvement of configuration as well as optimization of size of land plots in order to increase the efficiency of agricultural production via rational use of scare resources: land, labor and capital based on reduction of transaction costs. However, land consolidation in agriculture has both positive and negative consequences. The positive side of consolidation of agricultural land includes improving the efficiency of agricultural production, effective use of modern, highly productive agricultural machinery, rational use of scare land, labor and financial resources. Negative effect of land consolidation in agriculture includes the reduction of the demand of the agrarian sector in the labor force that acts as one of the reasons for migration of rural population to cities as well as the degradation of social infrastructure in rural areas.
Contributions for Migración rural, agricultura y desarrollo rural
In 1.4 of chapter one, migration should not be only seen in the context of economic development alone, it should encompass economic and human capital development since migration has been found to affect human capital development of both migrants and their left behind households. I propose 1.4 should incorporate human capita development.
I very much agree with David Michael: the report would greatly benefit from more urbanization experts with a background in the history of rural-urban linkages. The process of urbanization has always been shaped by rural migration. In this context, I miss the seminal work of Jane Jacobs (e.g. economies of cities, cities and the wealth of nations, systems of survival).
Another issue that many rural development experts tend to ignore is the fact that in LDCs, and in East and West Africa in particular, average farm sizes are currently shrinking (in many rural regions the average is 0.4 hectares) rather than increasing. A farmer at lake Victoria in Kenya told me a few years ago that foreign NGOs help him to increase soil fertility and adopt sustainable agricultural practices. Even though it helps to improve farm productivity, these outsiders would not realize that he will be doomed on the long run since his farm size is less than 0.4 hectares and likely to shrink in the next generation to level that will lead to hunger and malnutrition on the farm.
Why? Because he has six children and only one managed to get a job in the city Kisumu. This one daughter helps them to survive through her remittances. However, if the other five kids fail to obtain off-farm employment, he will have to further subdivide his land. So the average farm size in the next generation is likely to fall below 0.1 hectares. One of the survival options his kids have is to cut forest to extend the cultivated land. But that is not allowed anymore in Kenya. So the other option to escape hunger and misery is more likely, namely to migrate to urban areas where the likelihood of obtaining a job or investment for a business is higher
Europe faced the same problem with its small-scale farmers in the 19th century. 'Realteilung' (dividing property among the numerous offspring) forced millions of Europeans to leave their family farm to migrate to domestic cities and overseas. Alas, people in affluent Europe today have been taught in school that small is beautiful and sustainable in farming. this This popular view then leads to wrong priorities in development assistance (often preventing rather than enabling structural change in agriculture). I discuss this issue in my paper on migration-induced urban growth (http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/8/8/800). I hope the SOFA report will address this issue even if some donors may not want to hear it.
Rural migration has important repercussions on agriculture and development of rural areas. It is opportune that FAO decided to make it the theme for the next SOFA. My thoughts on chapter 4 of the draft outline are given below.
4.1 Migration and Labour Markets
In most of the developing countries where there is a high degree of migration, around 75% of the population lives in rural areas. For example in India nearly 70% of the people live in rural areas. It is around 65% in Bangladesh. In Sri Lanka too nearly 70% of the people live in rural areas. Livelihoods of most of the inhabitants of rural areas is related to agriculture. For example, nearly two-thirds in rural areas of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are directly involved in agriculture related activities such as land preparation, transplanting, harvesting etc.
A large percentage of the inhabitants of rural areas are becoming increasingly divorced from farming. This is attributable to declining per hectare yields due to land degradation, high cost of inputs such as labour, fertilizers, marketing problems etc. Climate change causing long periods of drought, floods also cause people to abandon livelihoods based on agriculture. For example in Sri Lanka, a large % of farmers have been affected by the drought which prevailed for three cropping seasons. All these factors cause a shift on the pattern of labour market from agricultural to non-agricultural.
4.2 Migration on Livelihood
According to several studies, livelihoods of most of the inhabitants of rural areas is related to agriculture. For example, nearly two-thirds in rural areas of Bangladesh are directly employed in agriculture. Migration is a major coping strategy for poor people to earn a livelihood causing a change in livelihood patterns. Studies have shown that displaced people initially try to relocate themselves within the village, then in neighboring villages and gradually move to urban areas or to another country when no other livelihood option is available in their known rural surroundings..
In the agriculture sector there are categories of people such as farmers who are directly involved in crop production. There is also a category of people such as farm laborers , tractor operators, pesticide applicators, harvesters etc. who are indirectly related to crop production. When those in the former category are affected by migration, those in the other category will also be affected due to non-availability of agriculture related activities. However, livelihood of those who are involved in activities such masonry, carpentry etc. are improved as the monies remitted by those who have migrated tend to be spent on activities indicated above. No studies appear to have been carried out to look into this aspect of migration.
4.3 Remittances for agriculture and Rural Development.
Rural migration has positive and negative effects on agriculture.
Positive effects: According to a number of studies, remittances from migrants to cities is made use to invest on agriculture causing an increase on agricultural productivity. For example Singh et al. (2012) observed that in Bihar, the efficiencies of human labour and irrigation in rice production were higher among migrant households than non-migrant households, indicating rational use of these two critical inputs on migrant households in Bihar.
Negative effects: Reduction of people in rural areas tends to have negative effect on agric. productivity. In Sri Lanka for example, many people, especially young adults in rural areas have migrated to cities to work in garment factories, offices etc, causing a dearth of people to work in the land. As a result large extents of paddy lands in Sri Lanka remain uncultivated. Harvesting of plantation crops such as tea, rubber, coconut, and sugarcane has become a problem due to non-availability of adequate labour.
Development: Development is a broad term. We can talk about economic development, and social development. In many developing countries, migration has resulted in economic development. Remittances by migrants are an important source of income to many rural families in developing nations. It also directly contributes to household income, allowing households to purchase more assets; enables higher investment in business; and facilitate buying more goods, and spending more on education and health inputs. A cross-country study of 71 developing countries found that a 10 per cent increase in official remittances per capita will lead to a 3.5 per cent decline in the share of people living in poverty (Adams and Page 2005). Thus migration tends to have a positive impact on economic development of rural areas.
Although migration has positive effects on economic development, it tends to negatively affect social development in rural areas. In many developing countries such as Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, women migrate to cities to work in factories, and the husbands are left to look after the children. In such situations children are neglected, and men tend to get involved in activities such as illicit affairs, getting used to drink illicit alcohol etc. All this cause social problems. This aspect of migration on social factors has to be looked into.
In view of what has been said I would like to suggest that the topic of the consultation be slightly changed to Rural migration, its effect on agriculture and socio-economic factors in rural areas. It will focus more on the issues related to rural migration.
Singh, R.K.P., K.M. Singh & A.K. Jha( 2012) Effect of Migration on Agricultural Productivity and Women Empowerment in Bihar Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2111155
Adams, R., and J. Page (2005). ‘Do International Migration and Remittances Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries
English translation below
La migration rurale est presque toujours la manifestation de l'échec de la politique agricole nationale. Il s'agit de la politique de l'Etat en termes de création et d'amélioration de l'environnement dans lequel les producteurs doivent exercer l'activité agricole. Cet environnement favorable à l'activité agricole concerne notamment l'atténuation des divers risques encourus par l'agriculteur. Les mesures assurantielles et la création de banques agricoles sont des instruments déterminants en la matière. L'Etat doit prendre aussi des mesures pour garantir à chaque région agricole le développement de ses cultures de base, la protection des producteurs contre les chocs idiosyncrasiques et covariants pouvant les entraîner dans la faim et la pauvreté. Des appuis ciblés, adaptés et donc efficaces de promotion des cultures de base et de renforcement de la situation économique des producteurs sont à notre avis les grands déterminants de la migration rurale. Il faut donc consacrer dans le rapport une place suffisante à l'effet des politiques agricoles de l'Etat sur les migrations rurales.
Rural migration is almost always a manifestation of the failure of national agricultural policy. This refers to the State's policy in terms of creating and improving the environment in which producers must carry out agricultural activity. This favourable environment for agricultural activity involves in particular the mitigation of the various risks incurred by the farmer. Insurance measures and the creation of agricultural banks are crucial instruments in this area. The State must also take measures to ensure that each agricultural region develops its basic crops, protecting producers from idiosyncratic and covariate shocks that could lead to hunger and poverty. In our view, targeted, appropriate and hence effective support for the promotion of staple crops and the strengthening of producers' economic situation are the main determinants of rural migration. Therefore, this report should devote sufficient attention to the effect of the State's agricultural policies on rural migration.
Thank you for the timely topic of rural migration, agriculture and rural development.
I have read the outline and suggest the following issues to enrich discussions towards the 2018 SOFA report.
1. The nature and type of educational curricular and how they prepare students to vacate or stay and invest in rural areas (Section 1.3). Do educational institutions prepare students for office jobs, thus making agriculture (rural life) be perceived as a lifestyle to fall back to only when everything else has failed?
2. What is the central focus of national and international policies on rural, and subsequently agricultural development? (Section 1.5) Related to 1 above, to what extent the policies pull or push people out of rural areas through their focus on large scale agricultural development at the expense of family farms? The result in many areas being that those who cannot produce enough for the market consider their land-based activities as a failure, they pack and move to urban areas. What would happen if agricultural and other rural development policies put emphasis on agricultural production for household food security/rural development, not always as a business?
3. Prices for agricultural commodities at urban, national and international markets. Hard to discuss push and pull factors in rural migration without emphasis on what keeps many rural dwellers in poverty, yet they cultivate crops every growing season. The discussion will also focus on issues of the price of agricultural inputs Vs the price of agricultural produce, thus, what are the chances of us achieving rural development if the price of farm produce is way below the expensive farm inputs?
4. The current issue of international migrants as farm workers from the Global South to large scale farms in the Global North (Chapter 6). What policies are in place to enable rural immigrants to return, rather than making them permanent farm workers for industry. Case studies and discussions can focus on labour drain, household set-up and strategic decision-making in rural households. If those with an education migrate, what are the chances that the uneducated left behind will be equipped to negotiate well with middlemen and international investors on price for their agricultural produce, crops to cultivate, etc.
5. Uniformity required in the definition of the main concepts in the report. For example, section 1.2, does the use of city imply urban areas? Use urban which encompasses cities, towns and other urban centers.
6. What length of time qualifies one as a migrant? In many countries of the Global South, individuals are known to travel to a residence in urban areas on Monday morning, work in an office and travel back on Friday evening. They tend to their rural farm endeavours before they travel to town on Monday. Where will such individuals fall in the rural-urban divide of migrants?
7. Will be interesting to include findings from qualitative studies. For example, what factors attract and retain people in urban areas/slums where they lack necessities and infrastructure? What factors make people to leave behind land and some clean air in rural areas for urban areas where they lack the bare minimum?
Thank you. I look forward to read future drafts for further input.
Comments on the draft Report on Migration, Agriculture and Rural Development
These comments represent a holistic approach to rural development with the emphasis on channelling migration to enhance food production and security with a view to improving public nutrition and quality of life. Improved public nutrition and food security can enable some potential and actual migrants to earn a decent income and ameliorate to a certain extent the undesirable consequences of migration.
The draft is very comprehensive with respect to the nomenclature of migration with reference to its specific motivators. As it is a piece of purposive behaviour, one would prefer to call what triggers it as a motivator rather than a driver, because the latter technically does not require an intentional decision from the object that changes its location.
I think it would be very useful if the report mentions at the outset i.e., in 1.1, its purpose. For instance, as migration results in a demographic depletion in one area while it increases the population density in another, it would inevitably have a sudden or gradual impact on food production and demand in the areas involved. Moreover, it places an increased strain on health, education, social and public security services, etc. Therefore, managing migration so as to enhance nutrition (agriculture and disposal of food) and food security in a manner that would ensure a decent livelihood particularly to the rural populations would amply repay the effort. Achieving this objective requires a holistic analysis of the problem with a view to designing a pragmatic means of its amelioration.
Before I go over to the other chapters of the draft, may I say that I feel the proposed format is a little top-heavy on the characterisation of migration, and I think while the remittances from the migrants may improve certain aspects of life of those who they leave behind and even some sectors of local economy, their impact on food production is negligible. There is no reliable data on this I know, and I also know that it is impossible to gather this information unless one is able and willing to spend an enormous amount of time and resources for obvious reasons. In connection with another enquiry, I became convinced of the dictum, the actual state of rural food production and nutrition can never be ascertained from cities nor can it be generalised on the basis of some chosen samples’.
In the ‘way forward’, I would suggest a clearer annunciation of our principal objective, and then the other objectives whose prior achievement is a necessary condition for attaining the former. These latter includes rural health care, education and training, etc., which in turn depend on there being an adequate access to appropriate irrigation, energy, water, rail and road transport, etc.
Once this is clearly presented, then we can proceed with ways and means. I advocated a layered approach to policy design and implementation so that they become increasingly less general and more specific with respect to the actual needs of their domain. Thus, at the village level, a village policy will be tailored to meet village specific issues within the framework of an integrated policy and implementational hierarchy, where each makes decisions on matters within one’s own experience and competence.
I know it would be impossible to revise the definition of migration as currently accepted, but it depends so heavily on enumeration and indefinable (objectively speaking) terms like ‘rural’ etc., it is liable to lead to hours of fruitless discussion. Therefore, I wish it is possible to talk about migration in generic terms referring to its motives and palpable results, i.e., ‘it represents the movement of one or more persons from one location to another motivated by the belief that one’s new location is more desirable than the former for some reason’. Please note that such a belief may not be not justifiable, based on misinformation, immediate threat to life, etc. This movement of people would necessarily deplete the stock of available labour in one place while increasing the need for various items and services in another.
1.3. Seems to expand in identifying the two principal reasons that makes migration to another location desirable, viz., economic or professional self-betterment and to escape some form of danger like physical violence, robbery, natural or man-made disasters, etc. Armed conflicts and break-down of law and order are undesirable primarily because of the physical violence and robbery, etc., that often accompany them. Next in importance is their impact on the necessary amenities and economy.
I would suggest reconsideration of 1.4., because the contextual framework it seems to offer has several flaws. Starting with its main thesis, the kind of ‘development’ that considers migration to be a necessary ingredient is the traditional view that is under attack for its cavalier attitude to the environment and failure to acknowledge that our quality of life cannot be sustained by technical innovations unless we strive towards a stable global population. Here, quality of life of the individual is to be ascertained with reference to the cultural norms to which one subscribes. This includes one’s food culture. After all, culture is recognised as an individual right.
Even though the question of population is politically sensitive, its resolution is vital. What constitutes environmentally benign ‘development’ is still debated. So, a pragmatic approach could be found if one’s level of ambition is limited to sustainable agriculture and ensuring food security as an environmentally benign way to retain people in situ and to attract recent migrants back home by making those activities a source of a decent livelihood. I think this is still feasible but there is not much time left, and we already have the know-how and the necessary resources to begin.
I think scope of the report in 1.5., ought to specify identifying what is needed to mitigate the burdens migration places on source and destination of migrants as its frame of reference. The suggested means of its mitigation is the use of sustainable wholesome food production and its fair distribution in ways that enable some potential and actual migrants earn a decent livelihood with a view to enhancing public nutrition and food security.
I think chapter two is open to the same set of objections with respect to our environment and population growth embodied in traditional notion of development. There is no justifiable reason support the view that development entails less and less labour intensive work to sustain development, for simple arithmetic is enough to show in that case, there should be a comparable decrease in population. Otherwise, it would inevitably result in massive unemployment or creation of paid non-jobs. Moreover, I plead for the deprived millions of migrants who live in abject misery around every large city in the world, their needs are not captured by macro-economic indicators, nor yet the micro ones.
I have some difficulties with chapter 3, which arise from the epistemological basis of its ‘theoretical part’. Starting with a terminological quibble, I am very wary of using the term ‘theory’ about an explanatory tool, or model if you will which attempts to capture various manifestations of a piece of intentional behaviour. I would use the term ‘theory’ only to describe a hypothesis intended to describe a gnomic phenomenon where intention plays absolutely no part.
When a person strongly believes (justifiably or otherwise) that some other location is more desirable than the present one, that belief motivates a person to migrate. This requires that belief to be strong enough to overcome the potential migrant’s emotional, legal or material ties to his/her present location.
In every instance of migration, its motivating belief exerts a push and a pull; while whether the push or pull dominates depend on one’s circumstances. Perhaps it would be better to describe the effect of that belief as simultaneously eliciting an evasive and gain-seeking response. For instance, ’brain drain’ represents an instance where the pull predominates while the push may be minimal, and flight from armed conflict may represent an instance where desire to evade danger rather than material gain predominates. So, it will be reasonable to say that an instance of migration may occupy a place in the spectrum where at one end push or desire for undertaking evasive action predominates while possibility of making some greater material gain or increased social status dominates the other.
It is logically impossible to separate those two aspects of desirability of migration, but it is possible to see when one dominates the other. Generally speaking, desirability of changing one’s location is a combination of both. Please note that the believed desirability of migrating is a subjective value judgement that may be accepted by people, but actually believing it is up to the individual. Moreover, its justifiability is not guaranteed just by believing it.
So much for the generic description of migration. As you will see, it is easy to identify various members of the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ sets, but it is practically impossible to identify their overlap that is applicable to an individual case. But that is unimportant, because it is easy to identify the limited number of generic members of push and pull sets, which is the crucial thing in deciding on how to mitigate its ill effect, especially with reference to nutrition and food security.
I suggest that in chapter 4, we take our point of departure in the simple non-controversial fact, viz., the kind of migration we are talking about entails a reduction in the population density in a predominantly agricultural or a pastoral area or a fishing settlement.
Other things being equal, achieving any SDG depends on using the relevant and appropriate means required to do so for as long as it is desirable. Its success depends on how skilfully that means is used.
The possibility of achieving this objective depends on a certain number of people with the requisite capability remaining at a given location during the period achieving that goal remains desirable. Therefore, the probability of achieving our present goal will be adversely affected by the kind of migration in question.
At this point, I can almost hear the cry, “you’ve forgotten what technology and innovation can do to fill the ‘labour gap’ with better results/higher yields and at lower costs, etc”. Ergo; achieve greater development!
But let us not forget a few other forgotten facts. What percentage of the millions of migrants around every big city in the world today is capable of gainfully using the proposed technologies and innovations? Precisely which ones and where? The fact remains that a majority of them require fairly long-term training before they are able to use the proposed new methods. This of course assumes that after their training, there will be employment opportunities open to them. How to feed, clothe, shelter and train them, and who foots the bill?
Meanwhile, what about those who remain? What technology and innovation will enable them to appease their hunger, clean drinking water etc.? They lack sufficient know-how or resources, and those needs are continuous and immediate just like those of the migrants. I think nothing short of an in situ inspection of migrant settlements around the big cities can provide one with bits of the big picture in all its horrid colours (a random inspection and not one organised by units that earn by ‘slum tourism’ which began in South Africa and now doing very well elsewhere also.).
It will be already qualified outsiders with sufficient resources that will dominate the use of technology and innovations in areas affected by migration. Such tools are capital-intensive and labour saving. In other words, they exclude the majority of migrants and the remaining villagers who will be reduced to earn a pittance by unskilled labour jobs of limited duration. This has been the constant sad result of many and many a loudly acclaimed ‘boom’. I do not think anybody has undertaken a survey to ascertain the origin and present day situation of the human ‘left overs’ of any recent boom that is very easy to encounter in most urban slums.
Another contributor has very cogently pointed out those remittances from migrant workers makes only an insignificant contribution to sustainable rural improvement. As he points out, much of that money is spent on housing, automobiles, consumer electronics, etc., but hardly on agriculture. I know of some instances where it is used to run a small transport or a catering unit, but this is seldom. I think that it should be clearly understood that ‘family reunification’ is designed to permanently move a group of people out of a country and not to invest in it in any way.
As for impact of those remittances on local nutrition in areas subjected to protracted crises, the difficulty is that there is no one to one correspondence between having money and getting enough wholesome food. Here, there are so many variables and possible combinations among them to defy any tenable evaluation of such an impact. Among those variables are what percentage of food is locally produced and imported, distribution of production units in the country, location of main storage and distribution facilities, transport network, distribution and type of food outlets, type and distribution of the conflict, ease of currency conversion, etc. Under the circumstances, it would surely benefit the people greatly if we did our utmost to open reliable channels to distribute food and help to resolve the crisis rather than speculate on an impossible calculation.
As outlined earlier, we have already established the variable ‘push-pull’ combination that makes a person’s present location less desirable, which motivates one to migrate for a certain length of time. But ascertaining its composition becomes relevant only insofar as it helps us to counter its adverse impact on the possibility of achieving say the SDG’s. Assuming their intent is to enhance everybody’s quality of life (with reference to one’s cultural norms), those adverse effects would impinge on a person’s capability to adequately satisfy one’s nutrition, health, education and security in their inclusive sense, procreation and non-material (aesthetic enjoyment, sports and games, entertainment, etc) needs.
I think here we must decide on what need we ought to concentrate on, and nutrition appears to be the most appropriate.
I am not quite convinced of the importance of chapter 5 in its present form. I would suggest that that emphasis is put on nutrition while constantly recalling that the possibility of enabling the people to adequately meet their nutritional needs depends on their ability to satisfy their health, education and security needs. Naturally, well-coordinated work with those involved with them would be an indispensible adjunct to our success.
Finally, a more diplomatic (!) as well as a more pragmatic goal with which to round up the paper would be ‘the sustainable management of migration’. Perhaps, it would not be amiss to add to the goal, ‘with a view to enhancing nutrition and food security’.
As for the causal link between migration and sustainable food production, I think it would be easy to identify its operating mechanism as it were, if we work back from what we want to achieve rather than the other way around. The reason for this is quite simple. If we try to do it the opposite way, we have no point of reference other than some nebulous notion of agriculture and food security. Once we start with those, we have something concrete to work on.
Every food production area (be it a village, district, province, etc) has an optimal qualitative and a quantitative output. Here, the term ‘quality’ represents type of food and not to quality used when referring to a single type. So, it could be a kind of cereal, vegetable, fruit, fish etc.
Now, the purpose of achieving this optimal output is ---
- Meeting some portion of producer’s (and family’s) own nutritional needs;
- Exchanging any surplus output for a fair amount of money to procure what is needed to meet the producer’s other fundamental needs like health, implements and tools needed to generate that output, etc.
Its achievement requires that each food producer possesses the requisite know-how and suitable tools as well as the skill to use them with sufficient skill. The capacity to acquire that know-how and skill varies greatly, while the need for nutrition is constant and continuous.
Hence, attempts to impart new know-how and skill to use new tools in order to enable a group of people to produce food have to be undertaken gradually with extreme care if they are to succeed to any significant degree.
The exchange involved in II above may involve local intermediaries like those who engage in food preservation and storage, cleaning and packing, carrying, selling and catering. It is crucial that these intermediaries do not unfairly profit at the expense of food producers and the end-users. Otherwise, it would inevitably lead to poverty among food producers and thus lowering of their productivity, and to malnutrition among the end-users due to unfairly high cost of wholesome food. This is the evil circle competitive food trade for profit creates and sustains. So, it is both rational and reasonable to move towards a humane and cooperative food production and trade.
When emphasis is thus put on nutrition, it will be clear that design and successful implementation of a policy to achieve that end will depend on its internal harmony as well as its harmony with other policies and implementational strategies in its policy ambience. Naturally, they all are subject to a considerable local variation.
All policies shall derive from the political decision taken at the global, regional or local level that every policy and its implementation shall contribute to enhancing the quality of life of each individual with reference to one’s chosen cultural framework without harming or causing deprivation to the others. This requires a comprehensive and an appropriate employment policy whose implementation will enable the people to earn in situ the necessary means sufficient to adequately satisfy their fundamental needs.
Its successful implementation with the emphasis on food production and fair use depends on the appropriateness of the policies and the skill with which they are implemented. Their appropriateness depends on how general or specific they are at the political level on which they are decided, and how suitable they are with respect to the needs they are intended to address, and what resources are available for their implementation.
For instance, at the global level, a helpful policy will limit itself to the provision of know-how and material resources concerned with meeting a fundamental need in a way appropriate to a region or a country. It will catalyse the evolution of the regional or national approaches, but will refrain from imposing those foreign to, or beyond their current training or ability to afford.
At regional level, policies will be less general and more specific, and leave the local level some strategic alternatives from which to select the mode of implementation best suited to the local conditions. For example, at regional level, the policy on food production might specify that the local authorities in somewhat arid areas may select from production of pulses, raising goats, etc., as always, the optimal is to arrive at those solutions by joint consultation with respect to the main goal.
Finally, local people could then identify the nuts and bolts of their choice and proceed with the last step in the chain of policy implementation. These embrace production, storage, processing as required, packing and a fair exchange of the surplus for cash. Rhetoric and jargon-free inter- and inter level consultation is essential to ensure the relevance and appropriateness of every policy. Such inter-level consultations across the design of different policies are essential to achieve an inter-policy harmony.
In addition to this summary of sound policy design and implementation, for more a detailed discussion of the issue as it pertains to nutrition and food security, please see: http://www.fao.org/fsnforum/comment/7788
A key issue to be examined here should be that of productivity and growth in productivity and the impact on migration, agriculture and rural development. We would expect low productivity in agriculture to accelerate migration away from agriculture, assuming higher income are possible in other sectors.
The research would also benefit from an examination of urbanization and the impact on migration, agriculture and rural development.
This is really an important issue and I congratulate FAO for making it the theme for the next SOFA. I have a few specific comments. In section 3.3, drivers of migration, apart from poverty, employment opportunities etc, a major reason is the changes in land use patterns due to global and national business investments in agricultural land. Within academic debates, this has been called 'land grabs', 'green grabs' amongst others. Seccondly, in section 4.2, on migration impacts, while nutrition is important, the entire field of health, nutrition and wellbeing, of both migrants and those left-behind needs to be emphasised. In fact, for Scheduled Tribes in India, over a period of two decades, men (seasonal migrants) show a declining diet diversity, with implications for nutrition. In parts of western India, during peak agricultural seasons, often coinciding with male migration, women lack the time to cook and feed, themselves or their children. These insights on nutrition are emerging from research we have conducted as part of the consortium Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA). Third, an important use of remittances is for consumption and class mobility, apart from survival, and not necessarily for investing in agricultural productivity (section 4.3). I have case studies of this from Eastern and Northern India as well as Bangladesh, which I am happy to provide. Finally, and somewhat contradictory to the previous point, we find that certain sectors such as fisheries in India are being rapidly capitalised in a context of climate change and resource depletion (section 5.1). In order to survive in such a capitalised sector, migration becomes the only way of raising the required capital. Fisheries in particular requires substantial investments, and this scale of lending is not provided by the public sector banks. Private capital would be too expensive to make the venture viable. We have generated evidence from research based on a grant from the Norwegian Research Council, which we would be happy to share.
Outline focus: relevant issues for this report are highlighted in the outline .
Chapter 1: section 1.2 could also include a brief definition of what encompasses 'rural' in this report...as highlighted in earlier comments (see comment by Flavio Bolliger) the inconsistencies in definitions may compromise comparability of cases (across various indicators such as physiological charactersitics, proximity to urban centres, infrastructure development, access to markets, etc).
Chapter 4 could be strengthened by including more examples of rural migration impacts (I see two for now - labour markets and remittances). Perhaps more contributions from country experiences can build on this chapter.
Chapter 4 - Section 4.2 - 4.4 is on the impact of remittances on migration and agricultural development. The title of section 4.2 can be revised to reflect this.
Chapter 5: some sub-sections tend to emphasise one aspect over others e.g. section 5 focuses on impact of protracted crisis on rural migration, then section 5.4 introduces slow-onset crises, climate change. It would be good to bring to the fore the implications of climate change adversities on migration especially for rural communities that are increasingly succumbing to repetitive cycles of extreme weather events. Through specific cases, climate change impact on migration can be analysed in greater detail while questions of how these communities can diversify beyond agriculture to adapt and strengthen their resilience.
Case studies: southern Africa may offer insights into rural migration dynamics in relation to climate change on families relying on agricultural and natural resource based livelihoods.
Information Sources: it would be interesting to see if it is possible to collate information on rural migration trends (where available) from agencies such as IOM, ILO, UN Population Division and country-specific reports to feed into the section on trends.
Attached, a few comments on the outline.