Linking Migration, Food Security and Development, 2012

Two issues have recently risen to the top of the international development agenda: (a) Food Security; and (b) Migration and Development. Each has its own global agency champions, international gatherings, national line ministries and body of research. Global and regional discussions about the relationship between migration and development cover a broad range of policy issues including
remittance flows, the brain drain, the role of diasporas and return migration. Strikingly absent from these discussions is any systematic discussion of the relationship between population migration and food security. If the global migration and development debate sidelines food security, the current international food security agenda has a similar disregard for migration. The primary focus of the agenda is food insecurity and under nutrition and how enhanced agricultural production by small farmers can resolve these endemic problems. There is a tendency to ignore the reality that migration is a critical food security strategy for rural households up and down the African continent. If migration is a neglected aspect of discussions about rural food insecurity, it is almost totally absent from considerations of the causes and impact of food security amongst urban populations. In practice, therefore, there is a massive institutional and substantive disconnect between these two development agendas. Current conceptualizations of the food security crisis in Africa provide an inadequate basis for working at the interface between migration and food security.