Rural urban migration is becoming common within the country whereby rural areas are left almost empty while urban areas become congested with an increasing population.
A Rural Urban migration survey report shows lack of education facilities coming to 46 percent was the most commonly stated reason for leaving the rural home. The other important reasons for leaving the rural areas were the lack of job opportunities with 17 percent and inadequate service facilities with 15 percent.
The report also states that, factors related to agriculture were mentioned for leaving in 19 percent of the cases, including small land holdings with 7 percent, drudgery of farm work with 5 percent, unproductive agriculture with 3 percent, crop damage by wild animals with 3 percent, and natural calamities with 1 percent.
Most migrants are moving to Thimphu (28%), while other district towns represent between zero and six percent of the immigrants leading to rapid increase in population in urban areas..
In rural areas, the emigration is assumed to cause problems such as labor shortages and socio-cultural break-up. The emigration to urban areas is commonly believed to be a result of the low incomes in rural areas, the lack of opportunities for cash income, and the limited access to schools, hospitals, communication, and electricity.
Lyonpo Yeshi Dorji, Ministry of Agriculture and Forest said while majority of agriculture related factors are being targeted to be solved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, it also required interventions from other sectors as well.
Some of the broad strategies carried out by MoAF towards curbing rural-urban migration are, rural access where farm roads are being constructed to enhance access to market, farm inputs and other essential services for the rural people.
The other strategy is to to increase productivity whereby provision of adequate irrigation water to farms through construction of irrigation channels; introduction of high yielding seeds, pesticides and inputs are introduced to increase productivity.
Similarly, introduction of electric fencing to address crop depredation by wild animals, compensation for livestock damage and crop compensation are other measures. The ministry has been providing case based crop compensation to farmers due to natural calamities and hazards.
“This has been made possible through Office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon. Besides, the Ministry directly provides seeds at times of crop failures and disasters. The Ministry is also in the process of finalizing the crop insurance schemes too in consultation with relevant financial institutions”, Lyonpo added.
The Ministry would also construct farm shops and roadside sheds. Likewise, they would create farmer groups and cooperatives, give trainings to the farmers and bring in farm mechanization.
Ex-gup of Chapcha gewog, Gyeltshen said that, with all the migration happening, they have both negative and positive impact on both rural and urban areas.
He said, “The negative impact of the rural urban migration is that, the rural areas will be left with all old and weak people, which could eventually result in labor shortage and slower development in the rural areas”.
The other impacts he mentioned is fallowing of land due to labor shortage, loss of cultural values, weakening of family cohesion, administrative problem during the annual census and tax collection and old age destitution
“However, with some negative impacts, it does also have positive impacts, in a way that lesser population induces lesser pressure on the natural environment, migration influences the households on better health, sanitation etc and those who do not migrate can inherit more of the family property and there is also enhancement of household income through remittances.,”he added.
66 year old Mikthoe, a Tshogpa of Paga, Chukha Dzongkhag said the excuse of lack of facilities is a lame excuse because they have access to all the facilities like electricity, water, farm roads and everything. “
This story was made possible due to support from DoIM