It is estimated that 900 million rural people in the developing world live on less than $1 a day. The most recent estimates from UN-FAO find that 1 billion people worldwide are undernourished. While this level of poverty and food insecurity is severe, the agricultural sector offers an effective leverage point to alleviate this suffering: The world’s 450 million small farms – two hectares or less – are home to about two billion people, comprising roughly 46% of the global workforce. In the countries where Mercy Corps works, agriculture accounts for 30% of the GDP on average and is the lead means of food security and income for 57% of the population. Improving yields and diversifying production leads to higher incomes and improved food security. Research shows that a 1% increase in yields can decrease the percentage of the population living on $1 a day by 0.91%. Hence, agriculture as a livelihood for a large demographic group around the world and a primary means for food security, offers a direct avenue for meaningful reductions in global hunger and poverty.
In recognition that access to and availability of adequate food production and economic opportunities is integral to the success of relief and development programming, Mercy Corps currently operates upwards of 70 agricultural development projects in over 25 countries worth approximately $100 million. These projects specifically work with farmers, agri-business, and local governments to decrease hunger, increase incomes and improve environmental sustainability.
To learn how we help people leverage the benefits of agricultural development, take a look at the reports shared below.
Mercy Corps is also committed to sharing its best practices and lessons learned with the broader non-governmental organization (NGO) community, for example through Mercy Corps’ position as Agriculture and Natural Resource Management lead on the Technical and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) program, funded by the USAID office of Food for Peace (FFP). TOPS strengthens the capacity of FFP grantees in Title II countries to deliver high quality and effective food assistance by fostering collaboration, innovation and knowledge sharing about improved food security and nutrition practices. For more information click here or visit the TOPS supported FSN Network website: www.fsnnetwork.org.
All stories about Agricultural Development
Ethiopia: Coping with Drought in Ethiopia by Building Peace March 5, 2012
Promoting resilience has gained attention in the wake of the recent drought in the Horn of Africa.
Agricultural Development Learning Study June 17, 2011
Nearly half of the world’s workforce relies on growing food for their livelihoods .
Agricultural Development Summary July 20, 2010
Agricultural Development Sector Overview September 15, 2009
This document is a shorter and more simplified version of the Sector Approach. It gives an overview to the sector and why it is important to international relief and development work.
Agricultural Development Sector Update Fiscal Year 2009 September 15, 2009
This document offers a snapshot of the sector’s programming strategy, progress and future outlook current for the Fiscal Year 2009 (July 2008 to June 2009).
Agricultural Development Sector Approach September 15, 2009