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This year’s FAO report on the State of Food and Agriculture is devoted to the topic of migration. It provides an analysis of the factors in rural areas which contribute to migration decisions and recommends tailored policy and investment responses to make migration work for all.

Migration must be a choice and not a necessity. Migration, agriculture and rural development policies should be coherent to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration. This is what the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calls for in its 2018 report “State of Food and Agriculture”, which the FAO traditionally presents on World Food Day. The report demonstrates the impacts of migration on agriculture and rural areas. It calls for efforts in peace- and resilience-building to help communities better withstand crises and not be forced to move. And it lays out actions for different country contexts. 

Rectifying a wrong impression

International migration makes the most news headlines. But internal migration is a significantly larger phenomenon. More than one billion people living in developing countries have moved internally, with 80 per cent of moves involving a rural area. The report shows that migration between developing countries is slightly greater than movements from developing to developed countries, and in low-income countries, internal migrants are five times more likely to migrate internationally than people who have not moved.

Promoting employment opportunities in agricultural value chains

Countries with development momentum should focus on promoting employment opportunities in agricultural value chains to provide jobs for rural communities close to where they live, according to the report's recommendations.
Countries where youth employment is a challenge should create decent on- and off-farm employment opportunities in rural areas while also facilitating orderly migration.
Other countries at an intermediate level of development should prioritise rural-urban connectivity to expand economic opportunities and reduce rural "survival" out-migration.

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