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
Guatemala: Fresher food, better nutrition, happier families
In the northern highlands of Guatemala, the signs and symptoms of malnutrition are a common sight: stunted growth, underweight bodies and visible fatigue.
Indonesia: Retooling Mentawai and helping it grow again
Indonesia's Mentawai Islands have a very hot and arid climate but, because of high rainfall and minimal pests, it is great for agriculture. When the tsunami hit last October, Mentawai residents ran from the waves with only the clothes on their backs. Most tools and crops were lost.
Kenya: Lifesaving relief for families in northeastern Kenya
“People here are falling down in masses ... it will be too late to do anything if we don't act now,” our emergency response leader in northeastern Kenya just told me on a phone call.
Indonesia: Joining the fanfare: a visit to the RW Siaga Plus+ program
I found myself being swept along with the wave of elementary students marching in the streets. Although at first I didn’t know the words to the song they were singing, I soon learned and sang along.
Myanmar: Buffalo dominoes
During the eight-hour drive from Yangon to Myanmar’s Delta region, I’d seen lots of beautiful water buffalo hanging out in mud by the side of the dirt roads, flicking their ears lazily. Farmers across the delta rely on them to help plough their land, so they’re a common sight.
Japan: Re-opening Ofunato's fish market
The tsunami poured through the Ofunato fish market, leaving the open-plan structure mostly intact but washing away almost everything within it.
Kenya: Chronicles of a "drought widow"
One of the saddest things about the current drought in the Horn of Africa is that it’s destroying families. Men go off with livestock to find water — often traveling hundreds of miles for months at a time — or they drop out of pastoral life and flow into towns to look for odd jobs.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia: Not just hunger, but fear
Nearly everyone in the world experiences hunger at some point during their day. That said, it's different for all of us.
Kenya: Chatting with the richest man in town
Today the Mercy Corps team visited Elwak, a small town in the northeast corner of Kenya that lies only about eight kilometers from Somalia. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to the poorest of the poor about how their lives are impacted by the drought that’s plaguing this region.
Kenya: The plight of a “pastoralist drop-out”
I’m a big fan of visiting markets, especially during Mercy Corps trips. It seems that even in the bleakest parts of the world, markets are vibrant, dynamic and often colorful places.