Exploring the link between youth migration and food security : a case study of Zimbabwean youths in Cape Town, South Africa
In recent times, debates on the connection between migration and development surfaced as essential discourses in contemporary development issues. Consequently, this led to the birth of what is currently popularly acknowledged or coined as the migration-development nexus. In addition, there has been an evolution of the food security topic in various developmental discussions. Nevertheless, little attention has been given to the relationship between international migration and food security in the context of development. Moreover, missing in the literature is the conversation on migration and food security with particular attention to youths who constitute a vulnerable yet economically active group. Furthermore, there has been an ongoing engaging debate on the impact of remittances, on one side macro-economists argue that remittances are important for the economies of migrant sending and receiving countries and view the use of remittances at the household level as destruction to growth and development. On the other, microeconomists are skeptical about the naïve view of the macroeconomists; on the contrary, they argue that the use of remittances at the household level is very vital for the livelihood of the poor and vulnerable societies. This thesis empirically investigated the link between youth migration and food security in the setting of Zimbabwean youths in Cape Town, South Africa, in the perspective of south-south migration, the New Economics of Labour Migration and Livelihood Approaches, consequently introducing what the researcher identifies as the youth migration-food security nexus. The thesis focused on three key themes: 1) reasons for youth migration in connection to food security 2) the importance of remittances on food security in the place of origin 3) levels of food insecurity of Zimbabwean youths in Cape Town. A combination of quantitative and qualitative research approach was applied in this study, where STATA version 12 statistical software was used for quantitative data analysis. The findings of this thesis reveal that there is an assenting link between youth migration and food security. Firstly, results point out that food insecurity or food shortage is one of the main causes of youth migration. Secondly, migration decision making is a collective and cooperative livelihood strategy used by many households or families. Thirdly, remittances from youths are vital for the livelihood of the people left in the place of origin and are primarily sent and used for food consumption. Lastly, although food security levels were still low there was an improvement of food security for youth migrants in Cape Town. Moreover, this research recognized a number of challenges that face migrant youths in their need for food security, which include (a) lack of reliable income to buy food, (b) poor utilization of food or consumption of unbalanced diet, and (c) limited research on migration and food security issues. In contextualizing these challenges, the study concludes with remarks and recommendations for policy makers, governments and nongovernmental establishments among other organizations.