Stay or run away from rural areas?

We know that in many developing countries, rural people migrate to big cities to work as factory workers, venders, and motor drivers etc. Their lives in the city are not easy. Often, they are forced to live in slums, crammed in small and dirty apartments, far from the spacious and clean surroundings of their rural hometowns. The food they eat in the city cannot be compared with the fresh and safe foods they used to fetch from their gardens and fields and they miss their families, relatives and neighbours.

Migrations is a last choice, and with all their hearts, a fate these people would want to avoid if they could. Why do they still have to leave? Because they need money. They need money to survive, to cover daily expenses, and to pay for their children’s education. A worker’s wage in the city may be limited but in agriculture, their income is often even lower, if they have an income at all. The risks to agricultural output are high, everything from overproduction to natural disasters such as flooding, drought and diseases, can affect the economic gain of a farmer.

In addition to the meagre income, farmers suffer the social condemnation of rural life that still predominates in many places, whereby the farmer is placed at the bottom of the social ladder. Not many people understand that we can not live without farmers who procude fresh and nutritious food for us.

In other words, farmers are feeding us while their lives are extremely hard. Rather than look down on them, we should appreciate their work and value of the food they produce.

During the discussion panel on 29th April at the International Conference of Agriculture 2017 in KU Leuven, a group of youth leaders discussed potential solutions to challenges faced by rural communities, including migration. The solution we found is to raise awareness about the importance of farmers and agriculture in general.  Once we understand that farmers provide us with fresh and healthy food, we will appreciate them more and be willing to pay higher prices for what they produce.   Hopefully that will make farmers themselves will take more pride in their hard work and in their fresh, healthy produce. They may even increase production as a result.

To raise awareness, there are many activities that youth leaders can engage in, including running campaigns such as ‘Why we need farmers’, help rural people organise rural tourism, and assist that companies to organise team building events in rural areas.

If you are interested in helping to implement our plans, join us at #ICYA2017!

Blogpost by Toàn Nguyễn Thị, #ICYA2017 Social Reporter – nguyenthitoan2404@gmail.com

Picture: A vender in Hanoi, Vietnam;  courtesy of http://pda.vietbao.vn/Xa-hoi/Ha-Noi-se-gom-hang-rong-vao-cho-coc-trong-ngo/11041393/157/

This post is part of the live coverage during the #ICYA2017 – The International Conference for Youth in Agriculture, organised by IAAS (The International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences).  

This post is written by one of our social reporters, as part of their training on social reporting, and represents the author’s views only.

The #ICYA2017 social reporting project is supported by GFAR, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research.