Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)


Rural migration, agriculture and rural development

Dear Members,

The 2018 edition of the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), one of FAO’s annual flagship publications, will focus on migration and the challenges it poses to food security as well as to peace and stability.

Today there is growing international attention to the phenomenon of migration, its causes, its effects and the way in which it occurs. To open up the drafting of the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), we would like to invite you to share inputs and consideration on the draft annotated outline of the report.

Migration, both through its drivers and its impacts, is closely linked to FAO’s goals of fighting hunger, achieving food security and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources. While much of the international attention is on international migration, migration between countries is part of a bigger picture that includes both international and domestic migration flows. Migration to, from and between rural areas (rural migration) is an important component of these migration flows. Rural migration is closely linked with agricultural and rural development in a bidirectional relationship: agricultural and rural development affects migration and are themselves affected by migration.

The 2018 edition of the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) will explore these linkages. It will analyze rural migration flows as well as their determinants and impacts. It will look at the factors in rural areas, and more specifically in agriculture, which contribute to determining migration decisions and will analyze the relationship between agricultural and rural development and migration decisions. The report will also look at the ways in which migration affects rural areas and agricultural and rural development.

You may want to consider the following questions:

  • Does the outline focus on the most relevant issues concerning the links between migration, agriculture and rural development or are there important dimensions that have been left out?
  • Do you have individual experiences or are you aware of case studies that are useful for informing parts of the report?
  • Are you aware of important sources of information that could be useful for the preparation of the report?

If you are interested in earlier editions of the SOFA reports, you can find them here:

We thank you for your valuable contribution to this exchange and for helping us prepare a better and more relevant report.

Andrea Cattaneo 

Team Leader of The State of Food and Agriculture 

This activity is now closed. Please contact [email protected] for any further information.

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Dear all,

Thank you again to all the contributors for the valuable input. The feedback received is clearly based on a wealth of experiences that contributors have gathered around the world, providing different perspectives on the theme of migration, agriculture, and rural development.

Some of the issues raised are very much in line with FAO’s approach to rural development as a way of providing a choice to people living in rural areas, on whether to migrate or not. This year’s State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), launched on October 9th, focused on territorial approaches to rural development, and the role of the food system in lifting people out of poverty in rural areas. Based on contributors’ comments, for SOFA 2018 we will try to build on this territorial approach and link it more directly to the drivers and impacts of rural migration. Another aspect that emerged from the discussion is the role of urban areas in providing employment, services and amenities. The report will try to capture the differentials between rural and urban areas as drivers of migration and policy implications.   

We also received contributions highlighting work of which we were not aware, or pointing in directions that we had not considered. For example, the issue of migrant fishers is one that was not part of our initial outline, but one that we believe should be included. Another aspect to be considered is the health and nutritional status of both migrants and those left behind.

In the coming months we will be collecting further information and produce a report that is evidence-based, and hopefully provide new policy-relevant insights on the topic. Thank you to all of you for indicating ongoing empirical work of relevance to the publication, and the broader literature on migration dynamics, demography, and gender-related migration issues. The dialogue and input provided was very helpful in providing guidance to our team. I particularly appreciated the time taken by contributors on how to improve the report structure and provide a clearer rationale for the document.

The 2018 edition of the State of Food and Agriculture is scheduled to be launched in mid-September 2018. This leaves only a few months to prepare the report since we have to allow time for translation in the other 5 official UN languages and for the production process. In the coming days we will be receiving commissioned background papers on country case studies that we hope will enrich the report with different regional perspectives. We will also be incorporating your suggestions on the outline and exploring some of the information resources that emerged in the forum.

A big thank you to all who participated in this Forum!


Just some thoughts on the annotated outline of the 2018 SOFA that I would like to share.

On the bi-directional linkages of rural migration and agriculture and rural development:

Rural migration can adversely affect agriculture and rural development due to declining availability of labour and productivity, and the lack of opportunities in agriculture and rural areas can drive migration as well. This may be viewed as a bi-directional linkage but perhaps this may be viewed as a reinforcing loop, wherein each intensifies the effects along the process. The effects of this loop create off-shoots of additional drivers such as conflict, which also creates an environment that drives rural migration. A holistic and systems perspective in viewing rural migration might be helpful in identifying key causes and formulation of key strategies for policies.

On Moving Forward:

There may be a need to explore the role of municipal and territorial planning in rural migration, agriculture and rural development. Economic opportunities, or lack thereof, can drive rural migration. The creation of economic opportunities in a specific jurisdiction and improving the welfare of its constituents are the responsibility of a city/municipal/territorial government. However, migration transcends boundaries and the adverse effects and benefits that come along with it are transferred to the jurisdiction of local or national governments. This can leave some jurisdictions as better off while others may be worse off. Developing policies to moving forward especially for safe, orderly and regular migration may have to consider this. This will require a change in the process of municipal and territorial planning adopted by governments.

Dear Andrea,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide inputs to the 2018 SOFA .

Dear Colleagues,

Even though we are aware of that this is more relevant to the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA), another flagship publication of the FAO, we would like to share below information since we believe that it could be useful as a reference.

In September 2017, the ILO held the Tripartite Meeting on Issues Relating to Migrant Fishers. The Meeting report which provides a basis for the discussion of the issues faced by migrant fishers and how to address those issues is available from here:

The Meeting adopted Conclusions and Resolution, which are available from below link:

According to recent ILO estimates, there are 150 million migrant workers worldwide, approximately 11.1 per cent of whom are engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Migrant fishers look to benefit such as higher pay, gaining skills and experience, and better working conditions. Remittances sent back to families assist the alleviation of poverty, finance education for children and cover health care. However they are also vulnerable to various challenges, including unfair recruitment practices, discrimination and other decent work deficits. These characteristics, to a certain extent, overlap with those of agricultural and rural migration.

We look forward to seeing the contributions from this Forum in the SOFA 2018.

Best regards on behalf of the Sectoral Policies Department (SECTOR),

Eri Uchimura

Find a brief write-up come case study on a drought induced rural migration.


Does the outline focus on the most relevant issues concerning the links between migration, agriculture and rural development or are there important dimensions that have been left out?

A simplified, comprehensive resolution framework is missing. It looks more theoretical.

Do you have individual experiences or are you aware of case studies that are useful for informing parts of the report?

Attaching the case study.

Are you aware of important sources of information that could be useful for the preparation of the report?

References and Down To Earth.

Laura L. Dawson, Dipl.Ac., L.Ac., CEO Food Physics And Body Dynamics LLC

Outline for response to the following items:

Does the outline focus on the most relevant issues concerning the links between migration, agriculture and rural development or are there important dimensions that have been left out? See 1) Health

Do you have individual experiences or are you aware of case studies that are useful for informing parts of the report? See 2) World Health Organization- health related to available sources of nutrients, Measurement changes by the health have evolved to QOL.

Are you aware of important sources of information that could be useful for the preparation of the report? See 3) Food Physics & Body Dynamics™”, a protocol which was developed in ancient China and recrafted for today’s challenges, can be taught and applied to daily life by observing simple patterns on the tongue and making choices  

  1. Health appears for the only one time in the entire SOFA 2018 Draft on Page 6, Section 3, and is not mentioned again. And yet, health is an essential component to life, through which we experience work, albeit in the case of rural Agriculture it is; planting, nurturing the crop, harvesting and taking to market, all of which relies on not only money, before that we rely on our health and wellbeing. [Wellbeing may be referred to as mental health, assurance of our personal worth and value, capabilities and strengths.] We believe just as Maslow, in his hierarchy of needs, stated; paraphrased from the Wikipedia pages [see footnote below 1)] .  The basis of which is the physiologic first, which is supported by having ample food, shelter and clothing. In other words;
    1. Clothing as it is used to protect our skin, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, sensory orifices and sensory systems, from extremes of temperature and to moderate our environment, wherever we live, work or play.
    2. Shelter to protect the body from the elements of nature such as extreme climatic temperatures, wind, fire, rain, snow, hurricane, tornado, and floods etc.
    3. Food would be the metabolic factors including air [clean], water [safe for drinking] and food [agriculture, aquaculture, animal husbandry which produce meats.]

So the lack of attention to the state of health in the migratory nature of our current rural evolutionary development it fool hardy. We would be wise acknowledge the resources produced in agriculture, aquaculture, etc., are only necessary when humans/populations are able to consume those foods for energy production; production then used to support dynamic body systems in action and rest before returning that changed energy back into the environment. This would be referred to a healthy food system.

  2. World Health Organization [WHO] thoughts on health, nutrition and Quality Of Life.

In a WHO in a paper published in 2006, Basic Epidemiology, 2nd Edition, regarding the definition of health agreed on in 1948, been quoted; “health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” [See footnote  2) below]

At the turn of the 21st Century and currently there is a significant shift in the measurement standard for health to involve a Quality Of Life set of criteria, as established by several WHO participating countries, one of which has been the USA.

This has led to a measure placed on the person who experiences health and what their own feelings of worth and value may be [See footnote 3) below]. In Seattle, WA, USA, one set of accepted QOL terms have been authorized and may be obtain under secure steps from the WHO [See footnote 4) below]. However there are areas throughout the world which have been generating terminology for those regions [See footnote 5) below].

As with everything, the WHOQOL standards are changing and evolving, yet if you would like to perform clinical research related to public health, migration, or rural development, this will be important as a starting point.

Here in the USA, we are in the midst of a massive opioid abuse epidemic, which lends itself to these QOL assessments. It is my hope that my Acupuncturist peer will look to these formats in their data collection and analysis, while employment may be an unknown and inconsistent quantifier.

Yet, there are other factors which I have observed in my clinical experience; different areas and geography have thermo-dynamics, unique soil components and plant diseases. As agriculture science takes this into consideration, there will also be the need to factor in the effects of amendments, treatments and development.

Migration also stimulates diversity and potential instability which can disturb some people, therefore an immune response may be triggered, while the threat may be in perception, not reality. We will need to build value systems, and economic structures which encourage new ideas and growth, deliberating and sharing, while retaining moral and ethical standards of society.

For instance, worldwide studies with health care peers have led me to believe the newest probiotics will help mediate these rapid changes, particularly for the elderly and the child who are on the end of the spectrum of changes; one at a point preparing to leave their physical body behind while the child is just beginning to enter society.

Currently health care professionals look at bacteria, viruses, blood serum, blood pressure, immune responses, auto-immune responses, and the internal mechanistic dynamics of whole systems as they interact for the benefit of the host human. I wonder how these measurements will hold up and appear to be of value or not, in the next decade.

One aspect which I personally noted, there is an adaptive period when a patient relocates. Sometimes it can take the full year of all four seasonal changes, while for others who are more susceptible to stress, it can take a much longer period of time and require coaching, counseling and/or comforting.

  3. Food Physics & Body Dynamics™, [FPBD] was developed to address to foreseen challenges of medical ignorance of the essential role proper nutrition and absorption play in health and wellness at the onset of the 21st Century. It has been certified to provide Nutrition continuing education credits to doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturist, and other allied health care professionals.

Designed and synthesized based on a combination of the 8 Principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the adjunctive nutritional texts, [Numerous text involved in academia may pre produced by author, Laura L. Dawson, upon request.] which have evolved over 2000 to 4000 years ago and the more modern, Latin-based so-called western food science and nutrition as recorded in text books such as Understanding Nutrition, Sixth Edition [by Whitney and Rolfes, Published by West Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN 1993, and varied coursework over academics in the US for more than a decade].

We have come to use one of the four primary diagnostics used by Acupuncturist, the tongue. Most, if not all, Acupuncturists know the impact of foods on each specific organ system. In fact, we have been trained to observe patterns on the tongue and formulate an understanding of the condition which host body is experiencing; in other words, their health status.

The good news is, that since we can assess the condition we likely can affect a significant change using the 8 Principle methods. Using a parallel between the color and flavor, and thermodynamics of the foods, we can apply these characteristics to the dis-ease pattern observed on the person’s tongue and reflective of the condition of the body. I personally have used this model to lower an adult male’s Prostate Antigen production, reduced cancer treatment side effects thereby increasing potential survivor rate significantly, assuaged symptoms generated in response to organ remove, treated MRSA fluid buildup and discharge to reduce the length of time to recovery, helped two young wives to become pregnant- one with food exclusively and in the other case with the assistance of herbal formulary. I have successfully treated a middle-aged woman with a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue at a degenerative level of Stage 3 out of 4 stages. Her blood serum reflected the significant and somewhat unexpected change in her status which was reported to her physician and attorney.

In Section 6.4 of SOFA 2018, the discussion on Resilience is to be addressed. I feel this method of teaching and treating through the use of foods rather than a procedure, organ removal, or pharmaceutical may help to build resilience, more efficiently. This will be important. Rapid social and climatic changes may rely on such methods to management these changes, making change easier.



  1. Maslow’s Heierachy of Needs []
  2. WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data Bonita, Ruth. Basic epidemiology / R. Bonita, R. Beaglehole, T. Kjellström. 2nd edition. 1.Epidemiology. 2.Manuals. I.Beaglehole, Robert. II.Kjellström, Tord. III.World Health Organization. ISBN 92 4 154707 3 (NLM classification: WA 105) ISBN 978 92 4 154707 9 © World Health Organization 2006, page 28
  5. Principal Investigators and Field Sites Involved in the Development of the WHOQOL Instruments.

Binni Azad

National Forum for Women's Rights

Migration in the Jharkhand context occurs mainly due to two major situations:

1. The impact of deforestation for widening roads for heavy rush of motor vehicle, used by not more than 8 to 10% of the population who live in urban areas. They are government servants, business class as well as corporators. As we all know, farming in Jharkhand depends on rain water and single paddy. There are few developed farmers where their few family members are in any job or own business. Due to deforestation on water availability and the deep ground water level farmers are unable to use it for farming. This results in the drying up of wells as well ponds and seasonal rivers, wetlands and increased drought, compelling the farmers to migrate to other areas, particularly urban areas in search of employment (climate refugees).

2. Literate or illiterate persons along with farmers are also forced to migrate when the government sanctions land for corporates in the name of development and large scale jobs for them, but all in vein. According to the Land Acquisition Act, the consent of 80% of the villagers is mandatory but forced eviction has been taking place for infrastructure development. But their is no benefit that goes to farmers or land owners.

As we know most of the rural population depends on work related to agriculture. Without agricultural land it seems difficult to sustain their life.

While discussing about the types of migration, seasonal migration and part time migration are more conspicuous and relevant in Jharkhand, as the other states in India. There are many migrants from Jharkhand working in Panjab, Gujrat, Kerala, Chenai, Mumbai, Surat working for their livelihoods.

My contributions go this way, the experience of rural migration is a global issue and I think it should be treated as such, the nonavailability of basic amenities in rural areas encourage the youth migration which reduces the workforce in the rural areas my Nigeria experience. We can reduce rural migration if social amenities are provided and equipment for mechanized farming are available which in turn increase food production.

Dear colleagues and coordinator of the Forum, I would like to greet you from Colombia and particularly from the Metropolitan University of Barraqnuilla. I am a nutritionist-dietitian and I am a researcher in the area of ​​public nutrition.

Here are my contributions to this forum:

Does the draft focus on the most relevant issues relating to the links between migration, agriculture and rural development, or are there important dimensions left out?

The draft of the report focuses on relevant aspects of migrations on agriculture, I perceive that it is properly structured.

I recommend that figures be included that illustrate the state of rural migration in the world by region, depending on the availability of information, as well as other information that will help to illustrate the magnitude of the problem and if possible illustrate some relevant case studies such as the case of Colombia, where for many years the armed conflict caused displacement from the countryside to the city and this affected agri-food production and its quality of life, now with the peace process the situation is changing and peasants have begun to return to their lands but all this has to be a process led and accompanied by the government, also planned in agricultural policies.

The case of Venezuela our brother and neighbor, as it affects the current situation of the country to the peasants and in general as it is affecting the current situation of conflict and migrations the food and nutritional security of its inhabitants.

These are cases in the context of Latin America and the Caribbean that can help analyze the issue of migration and its relationship with agriculture and food and nutritional security.

Therefore, I suggest including some analysis of the relationship of migration with other variables, such as food systems and how food security is affected by urbanization processes.

The processes of urbanization generate transformation of agro-food value chains generating impacts on nutrition; when an agro-food system is supplied from local production, local collection centers are established, with flexible prices for consumers, product volumes and quality standards, availability to consumers through stores where traders and small farmers directly access Although these value chains can be affected by seasonal production, they encourage the consumption of healthy foodstuffs such as low-cost fruits and vegetables, livestock products and staple foods, particularly in rural areas and in urban poor neighborhoods reduce micronutrient deficiencies and malnutrition (Gómez et al, 2017).

Likewise, I suggest revising some approach to migration from human development where migrants are established as the cause of migration from the point of view of the migrants as human beings who seek when they leave their environments and the migrant as an individual with capacities, aspirations and expectations, not just as a producer agent in the agri-food system. This type of analysis helps to define policies for social protection, education and health, among others that must accompany agrifood policies and to analyze the phenomenon of migration as a complex and systemic phenomenon but seen in an integral way.

Migration from the countryside to the city generates consequences on food security affecting their incomes and living conditions by undertaking migration processes towards cities, where they enter to perpetuate the circle of poverty and food insecurity.

Do you have individual experience or do you know of case studies that are useful to help lay the foundations for particular parts of the report?

I have been doing bibliographic research on the subject from the invitations for World Food Day and the call for presentations made by FAO.

Do you know key sources of information that may be useful for the preparation of the report?

Please see the documents attached. 



Mr. Rejaul Karim

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

Rural migration paradox

Rejaul Karim[1]



Rural Migration is a paradox to the urban areas as well to the high income countries at the same time it is necessity for maintaining low input- high output-labour intensive sectors. Even though mechanization is preferred and focused in many ways and sectors automation becomes priority to the high income Western Europe, America and developing nations like China, still requirement of non-skilled and half skilled labour from Asia and Africa is high. Everyday thousands of mostly rural no-skilled labours are migrating earn more money than they can in their locality fulfilling the necessity of the said countries’ low paid labour. At the same time, possibly, in way to respond to the local talks over competition between the low paid migrated labour and high paid native labour and sort of situation created in connection with the additional human influx from foreign culture. Thus, it is now we are focusing on rural migration possibly for outlining the other ways to address the concerns of the city dwellers and western citizens. Obviously, the outcome could be beneficial for policy making from national, regional and global perspective. It is believed that the exercise would also provide justification to the backlashes are being seen on migrants.


Migration is a natural phenomenon that even was existed during the prehistoric era. Since the very beginning people liked to live near to the water sources. The practice became more important with cultivation of agricultural produces. It is believed that prehistoric Horoppa-Mohenjodaro civilization was destroyed in a clash related to control of water. In the era of industrialization as well water flow proved to be important and early industries were set on the back of the rivers or near to the water sources. And for employment people again would concentrate around the industries cum urban areas. But those were in the proximity. The advent of colonization and slave business introduced new shape of migration that is in cases trans-continental. For example, importing Indian labour to South Africa and movement of African diaspora to America, West India engaged huge migration to those areas and obviously mush of it was rural migration. At present, if we look at the diaspora population in the erstwhile colonial countries, most of it is originated from their erstwhile colonies. Likewise, Muslim and jews population is most in France among European countries. African and South Asian diaspora are significant in UK. The reason could easily be assumed that France was the colonial power of MENA and UK was of Africa and South Asia. The Portuguese didn’t only make their language official in Brazil, Brazilians are also happened to be significant in Portugal. Similarly, people of Spanish Colonies are very much present in Spain. Subsequently, emergence of USA as the global power centre and advent of European Union pushed the surge of migration in the areas with flexibility and connection.

Now, once the colony is over, exploitation of the developing countries is over, cost-benefit ratio of exploitation of the poor rural people comes at the front, there are schools of thoughts criminalizing the rural migration and blaming the migrants for their misfortune related to employment, accommodation, social security and so on which could be identified as the results of capitalization cycle.

Where is the focus now?

In recent times, migration is increasingly becoming an issue in national politics in many countries. Most notably the Brexit and election of US president were proved to be overwhelmingly on anti-migration movement. Globally, emergence of right wing politics is also seen as anti-migration or anti-migrant political phenomena. Though globally we are talking about food security, social security and national security issues regarding migration, locally they are related to employment of native people, shrinking facilities for social security affected by the migrants, incidents of social unrest and intolerance among the communities, increasing rate of terrorist attacks in which either migrant people of migrant origin people are found to be guilty and moreover, these migrants, who once were dominated and ruled by the people of migrated countries, are becoming if not majority then important political and social change maker which is seen as intolerable. Protesters are also pointing towards the changing social structures and demography of the countries and the danger to their cultural heritages and social values in connection with the migration.

It is observed that so far critical analysis was not done on the issue and general people are not well aware of different dimensions like-

  1. Natural immigrants;
  2. People of foreign origin working in their countries either as technical expert or daily labour;
  3. Floating displaced people for various reasons for which migrated countries were involved or not
  4. Economic and technical aspects of employing high paying native and low paying foreigners
  5. Dilemma between requirement of cheap foreign labours and demographic changes

Though focus is on International development, as such international migration is nothing but the rural migration. However, if the international movement of unskilled labour is considered that is more beneficial to the recipient countries/areas for using the low cost labour.

Food security versus peace and stability

It is assumed that we are talking about peace and stability of the urban areas, city dwellers and migrant recipient countries and as those people came for food we are absolutely talking of food security of the beggars. Before going further let’s have an anecdote from a renowned Bangladeshi satirist. In his column in the most published daily years back he noted/shared his real life story from Europe tour-“once when he was traveling by taxi, the taxi driver first asked his country of origin, then demonstrating ‘hand to mouth’ asked whether he came for food. The writer was hurt and humiliated and simply replied that the driver’s forefathers were asked with same question about two hundred years back when they went to Bengal.

In between one more aspect we could read that is ethics of global community and colonial powers. These poor people and their forefathers and their resources were used for making the economy of colonial powers as it is today. Even these days day to business, many technical and logistical services are supported by the people migrated from erstwhile colonies. Their tears, blood, sweat are mixed with the prosperity of the developed nations/urban economy. Thus, not only the citizens of developed countries/urban areas deserve the social security, the rural poor also deserve food security and has right to share dream of better livelihood as well as peace as the colonial/urban people do.

Though extracting low cost rural resources like human resource is one of the benefiting ways of urban based economy and to some extent it is also benefiting the rural area resolving food security concerns, increasing the rural income with inflow of remittance, the real income is much lower as much of it is being spent for their more expensive living outside of the rural area and little of it is being used for constructive, development purpose.


Globally there are various kind of migration. With the changes taking place every day, reasons are also changing, motives are also being created for migration. Traditionally, there are couple trends are visible, such as-

a. Natural migration

These are determined migrants. Whenever they move, the take appropriate preparations for migration. This section of the society normally doesn’t include rural population. Mostly, the urban resourceful persons/families make such migration what is happened to be international migration. Also there are instances of natural migration among the rural people, in which for various reasons they move normally from one village to another or one district to another or one state to another within the country.

b. Infrastructural migration

This is also kind of permanent migration. For joining families, education of minor kids, addressing health issues of family members, for employment for which there is no infrastructure in the rural area (even in some cases urban area) people move to the areas where their perceived cervices are available. This is major trend for permanent rural migration emanated from aspirations created by enhanced education, financial capabilities, awareness and rural-urban connectivity

c. Job related migration

This is neither permanent nor seasonal migration. But in many cases, the reason emanates from lack of adequate infrastructure and suitable job opportunities in the locality. Many rural people works far from their villages long time, can’t visit rural place so regularly or stay with other family members for not having same opportunity and infrastructure at rural place. These could be international or national or rural or urban. Some of them turn to be as permanent migrants in their place of posting for long time. In the current world most of the migrant labours be it in Europe, Middile East, Malyasia, Singapore, Hongkong or elsewhere are job related temporary migrants. So as the most of labour intensive industries e.g. garments of the developing countries like China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia.

d. Seasonal migration in particular is common phenomenon in rural areas

This kind of migration could only take place anywhere. There are many professions that could only be available in particular season. Out of the season such jobs are scarce. Most of these labour is unskilled takes temporary jobs in agricultural or service sector like agricultural labour, rickshaw puller, real state labour and so on. Another aspect could also be noted that there are seasonal beggars in South Asia who mostly moves in certain season to certain places most of whom are not actually beggar but takes the opportunity of certain religious group, to earn more.

It is good for the high income areas where additional jobs could be done with these temporary migrants paying little but without having additional responsibilities. However, though it something better than nothing, can’t be taken as rural development activities as such because human resource development and employment diversification is neither focused nor considered in the focus areas.

e. Migration of rural women

Obviously migration is gender neutral subject. But in recent time, increased outward migration of rural women has to be recognized what is leading us to have more women engaged in paid works and enhanced women participation as regular workforce.


There is wide range of determinants of rural migration. Generally rural people conserve huge family feeling or family bondage. Therefore, outward migration creating detachment is not a natural phenomenon. Thus, rural migration is actually impacts of infrastructural and institutional limitations coupled with lack of capital (financial and technical) resources. The determinants could be listed as follows-

  1. High concentration of population itself a determinant for outward rural migration that make the people unable to reside together
  2.  Lack of adequate employment or suitable employment/employment diversity in the locality or proximity
  3.  Lack of infrastructure for education, health, connectivity, electricity, internet
  4.  Individual aspiration that does not fit in rural set up, even sometime district or national set up.
  5.  Also there could be constant feeling for what every community believes that the other communities or places are better to live in.
  6.  In many South Asian places particularly, Hilly/Mountainous people are migrating for difficulties with drinkable water/farming/trade and other difficulties with disparaged settlements
  7. Particularly for women, there is quite little opportunities of employment. They are mainly considered as disguised labour for agriculture sector which affects the Total Productivity Ratio. For ensuring minimum paid work, outward migration of many rural women is a growing reality in the rural areas.


Rural migration has bi-directional linkages or dimensions. Rural development is negatively affected by rural migration with little exception of inward remittance. Whenrural development takes place with regard to energy supply, infrastructure for education and health and enough working space is created, outward rural migration could be slowed down.

As always impacts are not of single kind. There are merits and demerits-

  1. Merits-
    1.  Utilization of available human resource
    2. Balance of settlements/population concentration
    3.  Availing better infrastructure for education, health and so on
    4. Urbanization increases
    5.  Financial resources are created in rural areas for formation of capital
    6.  Good ideas for better society reaching to all the quarters.
    7. Technical know-how expands
    8. Connectivity and social bonding among different societies strengthened
    9. Gender equality occurred due enhanced women participation in paid works and transfer of social norms and education.
    10. Outward migration removes the additional/disguised employment in agriculture
    11. Leads to lack of agricultural labour which in turn would lead to farm mechanization and resulted in high productivity
    12. Leads towards feminization of agriculture which is helping for identification of the women labour employed for agriculture previously which was considered as disguised labour
    13. Maximum use of human resources are increasing the productivity

2.  Demerits-

  1. Capacitated human resources are migrating;
  2. Again migration of educated people creates vacuum in the rural areas; this happens because
  3. Focus on rural development loose momentum and
  4. Infrastructure development in rural area gets late/slowed
  5. Entrepreneurshipare not developed in rural areas
  6. Being unable to entrepreneur, the financial resources obtained from exploiting labour elsewhere, is wasted or used in non-productive sectors.
  7. Rural people carry their rural culture wherever they go. Thus the influx create unrest in the migrated areas as they either try to follow their own culture or being significant diaspora try to impose upon the native community. Therefore,
  8. Peace and stability of the recipient community is endangered; and
  9. Security concerns increase

Impacts should not also ignore the loss of rural middle class and service sector because whoever moves that does not always represent the working class but also the ones who has enhanced capacity to serve the rurality in different capacities required.

Rural migration- agriculture-rural development nexus

labour market effects, impact of remittances, transfer of social norms and know-how for different activities, including agricultural

There could be a vicious circle detected in the nexus between rural development, agriculture and migration as follows:

Rural area has population more than it needs engaged in agriculture and service sector-that leads to low production and pseudo employed agriculture-that to low investment for capacity/infrastructure development-these lack of investment in rural infrastructure both for service sector and capacity building leads to outward migration for both non-skilled labour and skilled service sector population-again that creates vacuum for rural capacity building and human resource for rural development for non-skilled, aged, under-aged rural population.

The vicious circle could be broken with commercial agriculture led by women with focused investment for infrastructure for education, health and ICT so that skilled service sector could sustain in the rurality and agriculture could be profitable to retain the existing population which could help promoting safe and healthy migration

Impacts of remittance only have two dimensions-

  1. Creation of financial resource; and
  2. Aspirationof livelihood changes.

But both fail if enough space is not created for human resource development or entrepreneurship development along with physical facilities like infrastructure lacks.

Transfer of social changes and technical know-how could be in both ways like spread of democracy, gender equalities, women empowerment, and commercial farming/agriculture mechanization along with what we call as sky culture that is not accepted in many other cultures.Labour market/migration could prompt agriculture mechanization or minimum expedite which could positively affect agriculture for cost-benefit ratio and productivity that would again turn for sectoral/local income status. However, rural migration is not only labour migration it is also about migration of the middle class, educated service sector people who could make the social changes/rural development meaningful, it is their migration as well. It is also raising the question ‘who is gonna going to cultivate my land?’. Those who are considering the question as fallacy should hear to …

That means we should not only think about subsistence rurality with food security programme and peace and stability with imported poor labours who don’t require anything other than food. We have to consider the perspective is missing for the rural places where the outward migration is taking place. That is evacuation, of educated, service sector people and middle class aspiring to harness their dream of better job better life, leading towards reduction of rural population which is again leading to fallow land with the school drop outs and aged population not favourable to productivity.

It could be major concern/challenge for retaining the educated and industrious entrepreneurs and capable hands who could possibly contribute to rural development.

Rural Migration is also affecting the slower infrastructure development in the rural area as the conscious quarters are actually trying to migrate elsewhere where the facilities like advance connectivity, schooling, energy supply, working options are available, which again affecting the rural efficiency and capacity in a negative way because of migration of enhanced human resources whatever amount they have.

Rural migration is off course affecting the rural service sector as technicians, doctors, teachers are migrating for again better income, schooling of their children and so on what is essentially creating further vacuum in the rurality.

affect agricultural production

Off course it does! As-

1. Rural migration on first hand removes the minimum human resource required;

2. the second one is also crucial that it shifts the priority given for food production and agriculture which is partially linked with (i) direct involvement with the land management and production system and (ii) lessening dependency on agriculture.

3. Also the shift happens because of accommodating new challenges faced by the families outside village related to their various issues that consumes the additional income they make

Way forward

how can agriculture and rural development contribute to facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people?; ii) how will migration affect livelihoods in rural areas both in terms of constraints, such as labor shortages, and opportunities, through remittances to sending households?

  1. Rural biased development policy should be in place instead of existing urban biased development policy at the national level
  2. When rural development takes place with regard to energy supply, infrastructure for education and health and enough working space is created, outward rural migration could be slowed down. This would also help for quality migration and migration of skilled human force instead of existing trend of non-skilled and semi-skilled labour movement;
  3. Additional job has to be created in non-farm sector proportionate with the increasing rural workforce;
  4. We have to recognize the opportunity to feminize the agriculture and maximize the usage of pseudo employed labour in the rurality. However, little may be contributing to technological and enhanced capacity of agriculture development because in case the stated facts are happening those mostly helping out the subsistence agriculture for fulfilling the food requirement. Therefore, mechanized and commercial agriculture led by women would definitely resolve the challenge of under employed women workforce;
  5. More particularly, commercial agriculture would reduce the outward migration and outward migration negatively affects possibility of commercial agriculture but paradoxically helps maximum utilization of female labour or maximum inclusion of the gender dimension.
  6. Sectoral rural policies particularly for infrastructure like road connectivity, electricity, enhanced/high speed Internet connectivity with quality education and health system at per with the urban area are must for controlling the rural migration and also to enhance the capacity of the rurality
  7. Feminized agriculture would for sure increase the rural productivity that would led to enhanced rural income and can create financial resources for necessary capital development for entrepreneurship in rural areas.
  8. These changes would lead to gender equality and social stability with realization of the workforce potentials and women empowerment for decision making and for making the choice.

[1] Rejaul Karim completed his Master of Arts in Rural Development from Tribhuban University and serving as Desk Offer for Rural Development at the Secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The piece indicates his personal view to the issue.