FAO tackles relation of migration and slowdown of agriculture sector
José Luis Fernández, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in the Philippines, has tackled migration and its relation to the continuous decline of the agriculture sector as he opened the World Food Week.
“Migration, whether within the country or to foreign lands, is indeed is a topic that hits very close to most Filipinos. Almost everyone would likely have a relative or know somebody who is an Overseas Filipino Worker or OFW… But when migration is out of extreme need, distress and despair, it becomes another story—one that is prevalent in rural agricultural areas and one that we should work together to change,” Fernandez said.
“In areas where conflict, political instability, lack of opportunity, extreme poverty and food insecurity prevail, people find themselves with no choice other than to move,” he said.
“Also, most available jobs in agriculture are associated with low and unstable incomes, gender inequality in pay and opportunities, and limited social protection. In recent years, the impacts of more intense and frequent natural disasters and climate change have exacerbated the situation,” he added.
Fernandez said the drivers and impacts of migration are intimately linked to both FAO and DA’s mandates.
According to him, for a very long time now, investing in rural development and food security has been at the core of the partnership between FAO and the Department of Agriculture.
These include increasing farm production and productivity, restoring livelihoods after disasters, building resilience, equipping people with skills to pursue off-farm livelihoods and increasing their business skills and establishing linkages with markets, among others.
“We have a unique role to play in addressing the root causes of forced and distress migration of rural families,” he said.
“I encourage you to take this World Food Day as an occasion to ponder on how we can work better together to bring more opportunities to the poorest and most vulnerable farming and fishing families so that they would only make a decision to migrate as an act of choice and not as a desperate last resort,” he further said.