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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Rural migration, agriculture and rural development

Sophia Davidova
Sophia Davidova University of Kent United Kingdom

This is a submission under’ Do you have individual experiences or are you aware of case studies that are useful for informing parts of the report?’

Micro level evidence: the case of Kosovo in Western Balkans

We have undertaken a detailed analysis of agricultural household survey data for Kosovo. Kosovo is an interesting case study for studying rural migration given the sustained and high levels of out-migration from a traditionally, rural society. The key findings are:

  • Migration has, overall, a negative effect on farm technical efficiency which is amplified when migrants from farm households are better educated workers.
  • Regarding who migrates, household and family connections matter enormously. For instance, having another household member as a migrant in 2008 had a significant, positive effect on both propensity to migrate and the length of migration of another household members in 2012.
  • Regarding the relationship between the likelihood of a household member migrating and household income we find a non-linear pattern. Individuals from poorer and richer households have a higher propensity to migrate – ones pushed by poverty, others pulled by the expectations to achieve better returns to their skills in more developed labor markets and have the financial means to migrate.
  • Despite a priori expectations, differences in the drivers of male and female migration are, overall, fairly minor. One notable exception is the role of education. Whilst males with better education are less likely to migrate or stay longer away from the household, females with better education are more likely to migrate. This most likely reflects gender divisions in the nature of labor market opportunities.
  • Rural migration is more likely where farmers stop working the land because they face a lack of inputs, manpower and equipment, and farm profitability is poor. However, some security concerns may keep family members on their land to protect loved ones, homes and other property.
  • Overall, the results suggest that policies seeking to decrease rural out-migration should include initiatives to develop market institutions in rural areas, as well as stimulating competitive input markets and outlets for the sale of farm produce.

Sauer, J., Gorton, M. and Davidova, S. (2015) 'Migration and farm technical efficiency: evidence from Kosovo', Agricultural Economics, 46(5), pp. 629-641.
Sauer, J., Gorton, M. and Davidova, S. (2017) Security and rural out-migration: Insights from Kosovo, working paper.

In case of interest, we can submit more detailed report on analysis in this post-conflict country.
S Davidova