FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Knowledge sharing helps reconcile agriculture, rural development, and migration policies

To support agricultural actors maximizing the benefits of migration, while minimizing the costs for migrants and societies in general, specifically in rural areas, FAO is organizing a regional workshop on mainstreaming agriculture and rural development into migration governance and vice versa, starting today.

Migration has diverse impacts on rural populations, food systems, and rural economies all across Europe and Central Asia. Particularly, labour migration is widespread in rural areas of the region, as a popular choice for many to escape poverty, lack of infrastructure, public services, and employment opportunities, as well as low quality education opportunities, and to evade violence, conflict, or environmental degradation. In fact, labour migration from Central Asian countries to the Russian Federation and other countries forms the largest migration corridor in Eurasia.

As, according to IFAD data, rural areas are the recipients of almost 40 percent of international remittances, if used properly, it offers an opportunity of growth for rural growth households.

The FAO workshop is therefore aiming to deepen knowledge of country representatives on incorporating migration into agricultural and rural development policies, by also pointing at the possible effect of migration governance on rural migration flows. Participants will specifically reflect on rural development and agriculture needs in migration policies and on ways to mainstream rural development and agriculture into migration policies and vice versa.

“Coming together in such a wide and diverse group allows us to share our experiences, good practices, and challenges, and start the discussion on this important issue that may lead to long-lasting future solutions in the future,” said Raimund Jehle, FAO Regional Programme Leader.

A better understanding of rural migration – the root causes and drivers, trends, and impact – is necessary for preparing and carrying out evidence-based policies, programmes, and projects, and for mainstreaming agriculture and rural development into these migration governance initiatives.

Additionally, FAO is addressing the adverse drivers of migration, among others through the creation of decent employment opportunities on and off farm, and enhancing rural women’s empowerment and gender equality through awareness raising and knowledge sharing. The Organization is directly supporting smallholder farmers to help channel their earnings from abroad into lucrative agricultural investments. Enhanced skills – agricultural, entrepreneurship, financial – of migrants returning to rural areas is crucial for their successful reintegration.

“Considering that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit migrants hard, it was timely to rethink and scale up our efforts,” Jehle emphasized.

 30 November 2022, Budapest, Hungary