Migration, Food Security and Nutrition in the Kyrgyz Republic
21 December 2021
The Kyrgyz Republic is a landlocked country in Central Asia, with an economy heavily reliant on labour migration and remittances, which in turn impact the poverty and food security situation in the country through several channels. Besides remittances, migration contributes to communities’ resilience and development, and is also an important strategy used by households to cope with income uncertainty and food insecurity risks.
A research on the socioeconomic effects of COVID-19 on returnees in the Kyrgyz Republic found that the COVID-19 pandemic has had negative impacts on migrants and their families with border closures and temporary business shutdowns, reducing their options for income-generation activities and therefore leaving them more food insecure. Returned migrants are at risk of becoming food insecure as they have not only reduced their food consumption, but also compromised on food quality. Looking at the adoption of negative coping strategies related to food and assets, particular attention should be devoted to the food security of households with members currently in migration and with returned migrants. The COVID-19 crisis also highlighted the gap in social protection coverage of migrants and their families, as many informal migrant workers did not have access to social protection schemes upon job or income loss.
In response, IOM and WFP see opportunities for catalytic cooperation to improve food security of migrants and their families and lift them out of poverty. Through better employment opportunities, skills training, and financial inclusion of migrants and their families and through regular research and monitoring on migration, food security and nutrition, IOM and WFP together envision socioeconomic stability and prosperity in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Elisabetta D’Amico (WFP Kyrgyzstan - Head of Vulnerability, Analysis and Mapping Unit) and Hyo Jeong Jung (IOM Kyrgyzstan - Labour and Human Mobility Consultant)