Agricultural improvements have yielded tremendous results, decreasing the number of undernourished people by 167 million in the last ten years alone. However, these improvements have often been made by increasing the amount of land under cultivation – a practice that cannot continue indefinitely. Agricultural expansion has also come at a price: soil erosion, deforestation and water pollution – compounded by higher and more volatile global temperatures – have already begun to reduce agricultural productivity. For this reason, Mercy Corps works to ensure agro-systems around the world are economically productive, nutritionally diverse and efficient – both today and in the future.
We help smallholder farmers – farmers with less than 1 hectare of land – and pastoralists develop their production capacity so they can increase productivity and weather environmental shocks and stresses. We also focus on improving agriculture-related products and services by working with traders, input suppliers, processors and government bodies. And our holistic approach extends further – to improving the nutrition of people who consume agricultural products. This might mean increasing a crop's nutritional value by improving how crops are harvested, stored and transported. We also work with families to help them diversify the crops they grow and educating communities about the benefits and conditions of good nutrition.
All stories about Agriculture
Myanmar: Burmese farmers caught in poverty trap
Farming communities in Myanmar's Irrawaddy Delta have always followed a cycle of debt. Each year, wealthy land owners would lend farmers money, tools and cattle needed to till the soil. After the harvest, the debt is repayed and the cycle continues.
Sri Lanka: Financing Higher Yields
Thalankudha, Sri Lanka — When I met farmer Suman Suntharalingam in front of his mud-walled home here, he had just returned from selling 15 pounds of long beans and buying fuel for his water pump — two tasks that could be traced back to help he received from Mercy Corps.
Afghanistan: The Fruits of a New Beginning
The roads leading outside of Takhar are lined with 10-foot-tall walls, a long line of mud and rock that stretches on for at least five miles.
Afghanistan: Nurturing New Growth
Nepal: Nourishing Opportunity
Sri Lanka: Resilience and resourcefulness
Thatcher asked me on our way to the Colombo airport if I had a favorite story from our now-completed travels. I couldn't come up with one; each made its own distinct impression. But in going over all the stories we'd heard, two qualities stood out: resilience and resourcefulness.
Sri Lanka: The SRI in Sri Lanka
At about 10 a.m. this morning I was treading carefully through a rice paddy under an already-blazing sun, trying to keep my balance on the beam of dry earth that kept me six inches safely above the mud.
Sri Lanka: From Crisis, Opportunity
Central African Republic: How farmers can keep their kids in school
A better harvest leads to a better education for the next generation.
Afghanistan: Running Water Uphill
Following Agha Mohammad up the steep slope behind his family farm is not an easy task. While the lean 25-year-old glided up the well-worn path, his hands locked calmly behind his back, I had to stop at least twice to catch my breath.