AGRUMIG Project’s stakeholders mull over ‘migration and its impact’

Migration, its cascading impact on agriculture, economy and livelihood form the template for discussion during AMU-International Water Management Institute’s AGRUMIG Project’s ‘Regional policy dialogue workshop on migration’ held at Haile Resort, Arba Minch, on 5th November, 2019. Click here to see the pictures

At the outset, Research Directorate’s Executive Director, Dr Teshome Yirgu, according warm welcome to the gathering, gave a lowdown on the project and apprised them about its objectives. He said, this project will set the precedent in handling the issue of migration wherein Ethiopia is grappling with this issue since long; the outcome will provide a roadmap to policy makers in forming much-needed strategic intervention.

IWMI’s Strategic Program Director (water growth & inclusion), Dr Alan Nicol, speaking to crowd, said, it’s about migration and impact on home areas where people leave from. We are here to look into the link between migration and agriculture development in South Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region. We will help develop policy linkages with applied research and build connections with stakeholders, decision maker practitioners and policy makers and try to listen that these links help the way people respond.

He reiterated that globally, in any given year, quarter of a billion people is migrants, which is part of life. In Ethiopia, we have great volume of people leaving from one to other region leaving impact behind. Hence, here out-migration is most important policy factor where we have to find a way of strengthening linkage between people’s decisions to migrate and the economic development in those communities. Other thing is to link jobs to economy and find ways that will help to mitigate encountering challenges further.

He said generally 3% of global population being migrants generates around 9% of global Gross Domestic Product, and in Ethiopia unofficial migration is quite significant but their experience could be beneficial for others.

Gamo Zone Administrative Head, Eshetu Elto, admits that lack of fundamental amenities like education, healthcare and jobs force youth to leave from rural to urban areas that compounds rural areas’ problems. Even Gamo Zone’s highlands have no adequate farming lands; therefore, to arrest intra-migration; my office will try to address grass-root issues by ensuring all civic amenities including education, healthcare and jobs for youth and others.

Later, Dr Mengistu Desalegn, highlighting objectives of AGRUMIG Project, said, we consider migration as a part of development process, hence, we are here to explore ways to better its understanding and dwell deeper into dynamics of migration-induced agricultural transformation taking place in communities and places. Similarly, the impact of remittances on rural economy and how does migration-induced knowledge and information flow facilitates agrarian change and economic development will also be analyzed.

Lashing out at lacuna found in his impact assessment project, researcher from Wolayta Soddo University, Dr Tagesse Abo, said, absence of governance structure at grass-root level harming us a lot. At zonal and regional and national level we have structure that has to be cascaded down to woreda and kebele-level; lack of expertise further makes things complicated. Therefore, it’s imperative for government to create awareness, impart skill training, create education infrastructure and generate jobs to arrest intra-migration and save youth from the perils of urban glamour.

Gamo Zone Social Affairs Team Leader, Mr Tarekegn Getachew, spoke on status of migration in Gamo Zone while Hadya Zone Labour and Social Affairs Coordinator, Mr Bereket Feleke, shared his experience on migration and agriculture.

Relating her ordeal, she underwent for five years in Kuwait, one of the returnees, Tarikua Amenu, a resident of Arba Minch town, said, ‘’I was sent by an agent on agreed sum for 8 hour of daily work, but I had to slog 24 hours for meager amount of ETB 3,000 every month. However, hope of getting more kept me there, but ultimately, I decided to return; and now, I am running a tea kiosk near Nech Sar Campus.

The gathering had group discussion on issues of migration, agriculture and governance. Apart from AMU officials, representatives from South Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region, various offices of Gamo Zone, Tigray region and NGO – Mission for Community Development Program and others were in attendance; Firew Tesfaye anchored the program.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)