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Climate Change, Agricultural Development, and Migration

Climate Change, Agricultural Development, and Migration

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Published by Kayly
Background paper released by the German Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Study Team on Climate-induced Migration.

Summary: This paper reviews the likely effects of climate change on agricultural development and the resulting implications for internal and international migration. The agricultural sector employed about 1.4 billion of the world’s 3.4 billion workers in 2008. Even without climate change, coming years are likely to witness continuing large-scale migration out of the agricultural sector, particularly in developing countries where farm incomes are significantly lower than non-farm incomes. Climate change, specifically global warming, is likely to accelerate this pace of migration. Several economic models project that global warming will have more effects on the distribution of farm production than global farm output, with new areas becoming viable for farming as a result of higher temperatures. However, far more people are likely to be displaced by global warming than those likely to find jobs in these new farming areas. Existing policy addressing the challenges already faced by agricultural workers as they seek alternative economic opportunities is limited. The likely impact of climate change on the agricultural sector, more displacement, underscores the urgent need for policymakers and the international community to commit greater attention and resources towards developing a package of innovative policies to provide workers with alternative opportunities within the agricultural sector or to ease their out-migration from the sector.
Background paper released by the German Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Study Team on Climate-induced Migration.

Summary: This paper reviews the likely effects of climate change on agricultural development and the resulting implications for internal and international migration. The agricultural sector employed about 1.4 billion of the world’s 3.4 billion workers in 2008. Even without climate change, coming years are likely to witness continuing large-scale migration out of the agricultural sector, particularly in developing countries where farm incomes are significantly lower than non-farm incomes. Climate change, specifically global warming, is likely to accelerate this pace of migration. Several economic models project that global warming will have more effects on the distribution of farm production than global farm output, with new areas becoming viable for farming as a result of higher temperatures. However, far more people are likely to be displaced by global warming than those likely to find jobs in these new farming areas. Existing policy addressing the challenges already faced by agricultural workers as they seek alternative economic opportunities is limited. The likely impact of climate change on the agricultural sector, more displacement, underscores the urgent need for policymakers and the international community to commit greater attention and resources towards developing a package of innovative policies to provide workers with alternative opportunities within the agricultural sector or to ease their out-migration from the sector.

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Published by: Kayly on Jul 04, 2010
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Te agricultural sector employedabout 1.4 billion o the world’s 3.4billion workers in 2008. Te sectoralso comprises the largest reservoiro workers in any economic sectorlooking or higher wages and moreopportunity. Out-migration romthe agricultural sector, particularly in developing countries, has beenan ongoing phenomenon in recentyears and is likely to continue into theuture. Climate change, specically global warming, is likely to compoundthe challenges aced by agriculturalworkers in nding sustainable liveli-hoods. Tis paper discusses some o the challenges aced by these workersand also the role o governments andthe international community in ad-dressing these challenges.In the ollowing section, the paperreviews existing patterns o migration,ocusing on the substantial out-migra-tion rom the agricultural sector in de- veloping countries. Section 3 discussesthe ways in which climate change islikely to aect agriculture especially in these same developing countries,and accelerate the current pace o out-migration o agricultural workers.Section 4 considers various existingpolicy options intended to deal withrural-urban migration. It also makesurther suggestions towards develop-ing a comprehensive package o poli-cies aimed at addressing the challengeso agricultural workers as they adapt tothe changing ortunes o the agricul-tural sector in coming years.
Existing patterns of migration in theagricultural sector
While median arm incomes in devel-oped countries are higher than mediannon-arm incomes,
1
in developingcountries, arm incomes are gener-ally lower than the average incomes o non-arm households. While devel-oped countries regularly subsidizetheir armers,
2
developing country governments oen tax armers, usually by creating or allowing monopolies tosell armers the seeds, ertilizers andother inputs they need at high prices.Alternatively, governments sometimesbuy the commodities armers produceat prices lower than the world price.Low arm incomes and ew prospectsor upward mobility in agricultureencourage workers, particularly youth,to leave rural areas and to move totowns and cities within the samecountry which oer better economic
Summary: This paper reviews the likelyeffects of climate change on agricul-tural development and the resultingimplications for internal and inter-national migration. The agriculturalsector employed about 1.4 billion ofthe world’s 3.4 billion workers in 2008.Even without climate change, comingyears are likely to witness continuinglarge-scale migration out of the agri-cultural sector, particularly in develop-ing countries where farm incomes
are signicantly lower than non-farmincomes. Climate change, specically
global warming, is likely to acceleratethis pace of migration.Several economic models project thatglobal warming will have more effectson the distribution of farm productionthan global farm output, with newareas becoming viable for farmingas a result of higher temperatures.However, far more people are likely tobe displaced by global warming than
those likely to nd jobs in these new
farming areas.Existing policy addressing the chal-lenges already faced by agriculturalworkers as they seek alternative eco-nomic opportunities is limited. Thelikely impact of climate change on theagricultural sector, more displacement,underscores the urgent need for policy-makers and the international commu-nity to commit greater attention andresources towards developing a pack-age of innovative policies to provideworkers with alternative opportunitieswithin the agricultural sector or to easetheir out-migration from the sector.
1744 R Street NWWashington, DC 200091 202 745 3950F 1 202 265 1662E ino@gmus.org
Study Team on Climate-Induced Migration
Climate Change, Agricultural Development,and Migration
by Philip Martin
June 2010
1
For example, a median $52,500 for farm households in 2007, versus a median $50,250 for all U.S. households
(www.ers.usda.gov/Brieng/WellBeing/farmhouseincome.htm#distribution).
2.
The EU paid $150 billion in farm subsidies in 2008, followed by $42 billion paid in Japan and $23 billion in theUnited States; subsidies were more than half of farm revenue in Norway, Korea and Switzerland.
 
opportunities, establishing a pattern o internal rural-urbanmigration.
While such domestic rural-urban migration accounts for much of the migration in the agricultural sector, there arealso cases of agricultural migration beyond national borders
to ll jobs in developed countries. Moving workers rather than farm commodities over borders helps to increase thevalue of farmland in richer countries, and helps to retainother jobs at the higher end of the value chain, such asfarm-related packing and transportation jobs, in these coun
-
tries. Remittances from such work to the home countries of migrant workers can also offset healthcare and educationcosts for workers’ children in developing countries, and it
may further ease out-migration from the agricultural sector 
in developing countries by helping youth to nd non-farmopportunities.Perhaps the best known case of international migrationfrom the agricultural sector is Mexico-United States mi
-
gration, which has its roots in U.S. government approvedrecruitment of rural Mexicans to ll U.S. farm jobs be
-
tween 1942 and 1964. Similar patterns may be observed inEurope, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand, wherelabor-intensive agricultural production is sustained throughthe import of agricultural labor from developing countries.The production of strawberries in southern Spain, whichemploys 50,000 to 60,000 workers, mostly migrants from North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America (Plewa,2009), is a case in point. Additionally, there are also severalmiddle-income developing countries that admit or toleratemigrants from lower-wage countries to help produce farmcommodities for export. Thailand for example, has morethan a million workers from neighboring countries em
-
 ployed in agriculture and sheries.
Such patterns o migration within the agricultural sector,both domestic rural-urban migration and internationalmigration, are likely to be exacerbated by global warming.
Global warming, agriculture and patterns of migration
Tere are three major ways in which global warming couldaect agriculture and migration patterns. First, globalwarming is likely to generate more severe storms such ashurricanes that destroy housing, erode land and encour-age migration, at least until recovery. Second, there may bemore competition or land and water, especially in arid ar-eas with rapidly growing populations, such as sub-SaharanArica. Rising temperatures are associated with more wateravailable or irrigation, but also increased variability in pre-cipitation, so that drier areas may experience more severedroughts and wetter areas more oods. Competition orland and water can lead to conict and migration, as whenherders come into conict with crop armers.Tird, gradually rising temperatures are likely to shi areaso viable and optimal ood production, making agricultureless productive in densely populated areas in developingcountries and more productive in sparsely populated areaso industrial countries. Indeed, several economic modelsproject that global warming will have more eects on thedistribution o arm production rather than on global armoutput (Darwin et al., 1995; World Bank, 2008: 16-17).Te areas in which agricultural productivity is expected todecrease because o climate change include sub-SaharanArica, South Asia, and parts o South America, while agri-cultural productivity may increase in currently colder areassuch as Canada and Russia (Darwin et al., 1995; WorldBank, 2008: 16-17).Agriculture and migration will also be aected by othertrends, including a rapidly rising demand or meat inmiddle-income developing countries that can acceleratedeorestation as land is cleared or pasture. Deorestationmay accelerate climate change; increase demand or bio-uels that can push up ood prices and encourage cuttingdown orests or new armland; and create a rising demandor seaood that encourages production o sh, shrimp,and other seaood in coastal areas, sometimes in ways thatpermit increased storm-related damage in coastal areas.Deorestation to make land available or crops and livestock and to produce biouels could accelerate global warming.Deorestation in developing countries already contributesone-quarter o greenhouse gas emissions, and hal o thisdeorestation occurs to expand agriculture (World Bank,2008: 17). Biouels promise to reduce the use o ossil uels,but so ar they are not economically viable without subsidiesand may have negative side eects, rom rising ood pricesto more deorestation to create land on which to producecrops to turn into ethanol.
2
Study Team on Climate-Induced Migration
 
Tese three links between global warming and the agri-cultural sector suggest two plausible patterns o migration.First, we might expect acceleration in the pace o rural-urban migration within countries. We might also expectout-migration o agricultural workers rom areas which arelikely to become less viable or arming with climate change,and greater in-migration o workers to areas that are likely to become more viable or arming as a result o climatechange.However, the act that agricultural areas likely to be ad- versely aected by climate change are relatively densely populated areas in developing countries, while thosebenetting rom global warming are sparsely populatedlocations in developed countries, with less social inrastruc-ture to accommodate newly arrived international migrants,means that there is likely to be ar more out-migration romadversely aected areas than in-migration to areas thatbecome more productive. For example, the out-migrationrom low-lying areas o Bangladesh or arid areas o Aricais likely to be ar greater than in-migration to northernCanada or Russia. Moreover, new arming operations thereare not likely to be labor intensive, as with additional grainproduction in northern Canada or Russia.Te net eect o climate-induced changes in the agriculturalsector is likely to be more migration out o the agriculturalsector into non-arm opportunities. Climate change isexpected to make agriculture less viable or already poorer-than-average rural residents in many developing countries,which should increase the pace o domestic rural-urban mi-gration and to a lesser extent, international migration intoagricultural and urban sectors in other countries. Whilethis increased migration will likely ollow well-establishedmigration networks, which may make it hard to isolate sta-tistically the extra migration due to climate change (WorldBank, 2009: 110),
3
this should not deter policymakers romacknowledging the impact o climate change on migrationpatterns in the sector, and to move towards developing e-ective policies to address these trends.
Policy options for agricultural migration
Out-migration rom the agricultural sector related to globalwarming is likely to benet rom many o the same policy options applied to out-migration rom the agriculturalsector in general. Te policies proposed by many govern-ments generally all into one o two categories: (1) attemptsto provide incentives or agricultural workers to remain inthe sector, and (2) to ease the transition o out-migrationrom the agricultural sector, by helping workers to integrateeectively into their new environments. Policy options inboth categories are limited and require urther and urgentconsideration.One key policy aimed towards helping migrants integratein urban areas is to remove barriers to government services.Te United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)estimated that one-third o developing countries presently restrict the access o internal migrants to public servicesaway rom the place in which they are registered to live.China, India, and other developing countries have beenurged to abolish or revamp systems that oen limit the pub-lic services available to internal migrants.
4
 As or policies aimed towards retention o workers in theagricultural sector, the World Bank (2008: 2) is currently leading the major eort to transorm the agricultural sectorinto a tool or development. Some 75 percent o the poorin developing countries are in rural areas.
5
Tree majorchanges are recommended: (1) Increased investments in ag-ricultural R&D, including research on how to produce oodand ber in the ace o climate change; (2) Land reormand creation o opportunities or non-arm supplementalincomes in rural areas; and (3) Provide incentives or arm-ers and other rural residents to manage limited supplies o 
3
Study Team on Climate-Induced Migration
3.
WDR 2010 on climate change and development includes a box on page 110 on migration that emphasizes that “climate change is likely to add incrementally to existing migration patternsrather than generating entirely new ows of people.”
4.
 
The Chinese government regulates internal mobility with a hukou or household registration system that limits access to public housing, education, medical and other benets to the placewhere a person is registered. The OECD’s Economic Survey of China in February 2010 recommended that the hukou system be phased out and that the Chinese government develops national pension and health insurance systems to promote internal mobility. Under the hukou system, some coastal areas with mostly migrant workers, who do not participate in pension systems wherethey work, must levy high taxes on employers to provide benets to their elderly residents eligible for services. Meanwhile, rural areas with few workers must also levy high taxes on their fewemployers and workers in order to provide pension benets to their growing elderly populations.
 
5.
For example, agriculture employs 40 percent of the world’s workers and 70 percent of the world’s 5 to 14-year-old workers, according to Pigott.

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