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The State of Food and Agriculture 2018

Migration, Agriculture and Rural Development

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Migration is an expanding global reality, one that allows millions of people to seek new opportunities. But it also involves challenges for migrants and for societies, both in areas of origin and of destination. This report analyses migratory flows – internal and international – and how they are linked to processes of economic development, demographic change, and natural-resource pressure. The focus is on rural migration, the many forms it takes and the important role it plays in both developing and developed countries. The report investigates the drivers and impacts of rural migration and highlights how related policy priorities depend on country contexts that are in continuous evolution. These priorities will be different for countries in protracted crises, countries where rural youth employment is a challenge, countries in economic and demographic transition, and developed countries in need of migrant workers, not least to support agriculture and rural economies.

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Migration and economic transformation: An integrated policy approach

The preceding chapters have shown that rural areas are both a major source of migratory movements and a common destination for migration. In some cases migration occurs stepwise, such as when internal migration from rural areas to cities is followed by migration to another country. Internal migration is generally a much larger phenomenon than international migration, with a large portion of this comprising human movement from rural areas to cities, but also to other rural areas. Migration can also be circular, where migrants move regularly as job opportunities appear in different locations at different times. This includes seasonal migration – a particularly important form linked to agricultural production cycles.

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