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Migration, rural development, poverty and food security: a comparative perspective



The Commonwealth Foundation, in collaboration with the Ramphal Commission on Migration and Development and in consultation with other international and research bodies, such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Oxford Department of International Development, and the International Migration Institute (IMI), is engaged in developing pragmatic strategies, aimed at maximizing the benefits of cross - border migration for the pro - poor development of Commonwealth states. In this context, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with the Commonwealth Foundation and the Ramphal Commission on Migration and Development, is initiating country case studies. The present report is based on a comparison between seven country studies (India, Jamaica, Kenya, Sri Lanka, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tonga and Jamaica). The central question of this work is: in what ways and to what extent can migration be an instrument to combat rural underdevelopment, poverty and food insecurity in rural areas? The case studies provide mixed evidence regarding the development potential of migration in rural areas. The various forms of remittances have a positive impact on the productivity of migrant households' farms. The introduction of new production techniques can also have beneficial spill - over effects on non - migrants' farming. However, there is no evidence of a substantial improvement of agriculture at the regional or national level in the countries investigated. Migration on its own cannot support an agricultural development strategy. Migration improves household food security. Remittances are largely used for daily consumption, especially in poor households. However, in the absence of a specific study, it is not possible to give a quantitative assessment of the improvement of food consumption induced by the reception of remittances. Nor is it possible to draw any conclusion regarding non - migrant households. Finally, there is ample evidence that migration alleviates poverty, even for non - migrant households. In the countries benefiting from temporary migration schemes recruiting low skilled farmers, migration directly benefits rural areas. However, in other countries, the migrants tend to come from wealthier urban areas. In consequence, migration has limited effects on rural poverty. The report proposes the establishment of an institutional framework and the design of pragmatic actions to be taken to tackle obstacles to rural development. These recommendations are broken down at the international, national and local levels with a view to delineating a coherent 'policy chain' in the Commonwealth: At the Commonwealth level, the creation of the Commonwealth Office for Migration and Development would provide a platform where issues of migration and development could be discussed. It will provide technical and evidence - based guidance to member states. At the member state level, migration should be mainstreamed in the development agenda of public authorities and civil society organizations by enhancing internal transfers, supporting migrant entrepreneurship abroad, easing integration in receiving countries, channelling investment in rural areas. At the local level, synergies between migrant organizations, local authorities and civil society will be created by promoting co-funding schemes for public infrastructure and the poverty of women.
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halshs-00921812 , version 1 (21-12-2013)


  • HAL Id : halshs-00921812 , version 1


Thomas Lacroix. Migration, rural development, poverty and food security: a comparative perspective. 2011. ⟨halshs-00921812⟩
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