Rural Out Migration and Land Use in Moldova

Publication Type: 
CPS Policy Research Reports
Moldova has seen large flows of its citizens residing in rural areas migrating abroad in search of higher wages and decent living conditions. This paper aims to investigate whether additional income from remittances enable migrant households to invest more in their agricultural land, increase their farm efficiency and the labor resources they allocate to agriculture in general. Furthermore, it aims to assess whether remittances lead to productive investments in agriculture, particularly if there is any impact on the land consolidation, considering the substantial drop in the economic activity rate in rural areas as less and less land is being cultivated by peasant farms. This study found that rural out migration and depopulation has changed the structure of the agricultural production with more agricultural areas being allocated to crops that require minimum resources. Migration accelerated the decline of the agricultural sector as migrants and their family members reduce the amount of land cultivated and invest less in new agricultural equipment or in productivity-enhancing technologies; instead, they are using remittances to move out of agriculture by leasing parts of their land, though retaining their ownership rights. Considering current land consolidation initiatives undertaken by the state, the author advocates a careful and weighted approach considering the experience of the neighboring countries which aimed to tackle high land fragmentation, aging, and migration in rural areas.