EFFECT OF RURAL-URBAN MIGRATION ON AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the study
Unlike mortality and fertility, internal migration does not affect the entire population size of a country. But it has a very important role in redistributing the population size between rural and urban areas and between rural areas of low potential and those of higher agricultural potential. One of the most noteworthy demographic phenomena faced by many developing countries in the world is the shortage of skilled labour and food security, and conversely the rapid population growth in the urban centres, which is largely caused by the prevalence of rural-urban migration (Agesa & Kim, 2001). According to Justina (2007), migration is a wide spread phenomenon, that any study made on an urban centre in Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) of which Ghana is part, will ever, deal largely with a population that was not born in the place. Bahns (2005) contends that about half of the population in the world lives in cities and urban areas and the population are hypothesized to be around 1 million every year. Most of these have migrated from other parts of the country particularly from the rural areas. The rate of current urban population growth has reached up to 6% in many African countries including Ghana (Accra), Nigeria (Lagos), and Kenya (Nairobi), (Dao, 2002). Migratory movements have multiplied greatly in recent years, because of improved transport, communications, and expansion in urban informal sector employment in most SSA countries (Chant & Radcliff, 1992).
Migration is particularly important in Ghana because of long tradition of population mobility and particularly high rates of rural–urban migration. Caldwell (1969) argued in his study of migration that moving from rural areas to towns has been an important part of farm household livelihood strategy for decades. He observed that to many Ghanaians, urban life represents new employment opportunities, the possibility of working indoors, modernity and being less tied to family duties, which is different from working mainly on farms, coupled with enormous family responsibilities. Northern Ghana has long been characterized by outmigration. Rural households in these communities send out internal migrants for prolonged periods, primarily to the large urban centres in the south (Wouterse, 2010). Recently a new dominant north-south migration stream has emerged involving that of females moving independently of their families to urban centres such as Accra and Kumasi (Awumbila and Ardayfio-Schandorf, 2008).
In SSA, most social roles and status (attributed to gender and age, opportunities and constraints such as access to resources and the opportunity to migrate) are socially embedded. Internal migration is attracting increasing attention among researchers, academics, development practitioners, and policy makers, many of whom attribute the growth of rural–urban migration in particular to increasing unemployment and rural poverty in developing countries (Anarfi et al., 2001; Chant, 2002; Zhao, 2003). Afshar (2003) contended that, the inadequacy of incomes, lack of gainful employment, coupled with poverty in the rural areas, have pushed people out of their villages in search of better sources of livelihoods in the urban areas. According to Bryceson et al. (2000), most of these migrants do not possess relevant skills or education that would enable them secure employment in the formal sector in urban places.
The consensus in the literature about the relationship between migration and agricultural development remains thin. A study conducted by Aworemi, Abdul-Azeez & Opoola (2011) in Nigeria shows that rural-urban migration is a double-edged problem affecting the rural community as well as the urban destinations. They content that rural community is affected because the youths and adults that are supposed to remain in the community and contribute to the development of agriculture in particular and the community in general leave the rural areas for other destinations. The ‘lost labour’ of able-bodied (migrated) men and women is ascribed a key role in the process of agricultural decline. Interestingly, internal migration is associated with rural and agricultural stagnation or even decline (Regmi and Tisdell, 2002). This has serious implications for agricultural production since most of the work which would have been done by the youths is now left for the aged to do (Angba, 2003). De Haan (1999) suggests that migration does not usually lead to radical transformation of rural agriculture but that it often occupies a central part in the maintenance of rural people’s livelihoods.
While migrants are away, households have less labour to allocate to local production activities. If a migrant household’s marginal product on the farm is positive, crop production will fall when the household sends out a migrant(s). Taylor et al. (2003) noted that the adverse effect of loss of labour may be high since migrants tend to be younger and better educated than the average rural labourer. Rozelle et al. (1999) report a significant and negative effect of loss of labour on yields. Also, De Brauw and Rozelle (2003) found that the loss of household labour from migration negatively affects household crop income.
In spite of the fact that out-migration results in loss of agricultural labour which subsequently affects productivity and level of farm income, some scholars have argued that out-migration has positive effects on agriculture. For instance, (Taylor et al., 2003) have argued that loss in yield due to the reduction in available labour may be compensated for (partially) by remittances from the migrant(s), which are used to purchase additional inputs or rent substitutes for labour in cropping. It is possible that, initially the migrants cannot send remittances until they are well settled. However, De Haas (2001) contended that, in the long run, and after an adjustment process, this agricultural decline has often been reversed through agricultural investments made possible by the inflow of remittances. De Brauw and Rozelle (2003) also provide evidence that the remittances sent home by migrants partially compensate for this lost-labour effect, contributing to household incomes directly and also indirectly by stimulating crop production. IFAD (2007) hypothesized that migration is likely to generate a positive income effect on the sending households, raising the household’s ability to access important nutritional inputs like food among others. Furthermore, Fasoranti (2009) in his study on perceptions of rural-urban migration in selected rural communities in Ondo State, Nigeria found that over 80% of the respondent agreed or strongly agreed that the movement of a member of the family to an urban location frees more land space for farming in the rural areas. This eventually may lead to increased cultivation and subsequently increased productivity.
In a nut shell, this apparent contradiction in the literature can be partly resolved by the understanding that migration impacts are not the same for different areas across time and space. There are indications that the initial effect of migration on agricultural productivity might indeed have been negative, because of an acute lack of family labour but may subsequently improve if remittances flow from migrants and are invested in agriculture. After reviewing a number of cases in Asia, Deshingkar (2004) concluded that, a loss of labour through migration may or may not reduce agricultural production, remittance may or
may not increase access to assets by alleviating credit constraint: this in turn may or may not increase agricultural production and household incomes.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The conflict situation has left the study area deprived of basic social amenities and services together with infrastructure that would make a place attractive to live in. This gives a disincentive for people to be attracted to the area. There are few or no other opportunities for livelihood activities apart from farming and a few formal sector employments. The mass migration of the labour force from agriculture and the declining soil fertility together threaten agricultural sustainability in the study area. The out-migration of the agricultural labour force has therefore affected agricultural performance and productivity which subsequently brought about food insecurity and low farm incomes.
Rural-urban migration has been a challenging issue for policy makers and or governments especially in developing countries. The impact of out-migration on rural livelihoods is a moot case. Out-migration may result in drastic decrease in the labour which in turn reduces total cropped area and quality of work giving rise to reduced food production and reduced household wealth leading to increased vulnerability in many rural areas which may, brings about food insecurity. The impact of rural-urban migration may result in the speedy decline of the rural economy that leads to persistent poverty and food insecurity (Mini, 2000). This arises owing to disproportionate exodus of the youth from the rural areas leaving only aged members and children to constitute the labour force.
1.3 Research questions
1. What are the factors that influence out-migration in Nigeria into the urban areas?
2. What is the relationship between out-migration and agricultural labour availability in rural areas of Nigeria?
3. What is the relationship between out-migration and agricultural land accessibility and availability in Nigeria?
4. What is the relationship between out-migration and agriculture performance in Nigeria?
1.4 Objectives of the study
1. To identify community members perception of causes of out-migration.
2. To determine the effects of out- migration on agricultural labour availability.
3. To examine the effects of out- migration on accessibility of agricultural land.
4. To assess the influence of out-migration on level of farm income.
5. To examine the effect of out-migration on food availability (security).
1.5 Research questions
1. Out-migration- refers to movement of people from the study area either temporally or permanently to settle in other places.
2. Agricultural labour availability- refers to the work force engaged in agriculture. This is indicated by labour increase or reduction in the district.
3. Agricultural land accessibility- refers to the means by which farmers in Nigeria acquire land for farming. It is indicated by the system of land ownership.
4. Agricultural land availability- refers to adequacy or inadequacy of arable land in the area resulting from out-migration. It is indicated by land availability or unavailability of arable land resulting from out-migration of household members.
5. Agricultural performance- refers to how well or otherwise agriculture is doing in the area. This is indicated by increased time spent in carrying out a specific farm activity, level of farm income and level of agricultural productivity.
6. Food availability- refers to the physical presence of harvested food stuff all year round. It is indicated by adequacy or shortage of food in the area.
7. Farm income- refers to income realized by farmers from the sales of farm produce including animals.
1.6: Research hypothesis
H0: There is no relationship between rural urban migration and agricultural production
H1: There is a relationship between rural urban migration and agricultural production
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