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
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.
Ethiopia: Meeting drought-stricken families' urgent needs in Ethiopia
Even before the current Horn of Africa drought reached its acute stage over the last several days, Mercy Corps was already hard at work on drought response activities throughout the region. So far, the majority of our drought-related activities have been in Ethiopia.
Kenya: Struggling to keep a goat alive
I arrived in Garissa, Kenya — a city of at least 180,000 people not far from the border with Somalia — today after a long, hot drive from Nairobi. I’ll be in Garissa and areas to the north for the remainder of the week to see how this year’s drought has impacted families in the area.
Indonesia: Pushing back the sea
Indonesia: A video blog from Indonesia's remote Mentawai Islands
Somalia: Will the U.S. stand by as famine looms in Somalia?
"The drought has gotten so bad that we have seen camels dying of thirst," recounted a Mercy Corps colleague during my recent visit to Somalia.
South Sudan: South Sudan - The birth of a nation
Mercy Corps began programs in South Sudan in 2004 to help devastated communities rebuild after decades of civil war. As South Sudan declares its independence from the north, Mercy Corps staff looks at the progress the people have made in the past six years.