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: Traveling the roads of resilient children
I recently went to visit the communities of Yalchactic I and Salvador Chizol, near the city of Cobán in Guatemala's mountainous Alta Verapaz region. A large portion of the access roads to these communities are in very bad shape.
Timor-Leste: Sharing the responsibility to grow more food
After a bumpy six hour drive from our head office in Dili, we finally reached our first destination on my recent field visit in Timor-Leste: the village of Maununu.
Fasting for the poor and hungry
For the last four days, I've been helping fight hunger by changing my diet. I've chosen a diet similar to that of many of the people Mercy Corps works with around the world: basic staple foods like rice, beans, greens and a bit of fruit.
Kosovo: A life-changing project for a Roma community
Ramadan Sahiti is a 37-year-old Roma farmer from the village of Koshare/Košare in southern Kosovo.
Timor-Leste: Farmers in Timor-Leste store up for a better future
The road to Ainaro District from Dili —the capital city of Timor-Leste, one of the world's newest countries — has never been as bad as it is now, at least in my experience.
Somalia: A lot has changed
It was a long journey full of rough terrains and sleepless nights while we were assessing the areas that have been hit by droughts in the Bari Region of Puntland, Somalia. Farmers and pastoralists lost most of their assets and suffered from lack of water.
Myanmar: Small animals bring big dreams
Cyclone Nargis, which devastated large swaths of Myanmar (known also as Burma) in 2008, took everything from residents like 59-year-old Daw Hla Kyi — including her livestock.
Iraq: VIDEO: "Sadness has become my food and my clothes"
Over the course of the week and a half I've been in northern Iraq so far, I've seen — and heard — a lot about Kurdish culture. It's extremely hospitable, thoughtful and fiercely passionate.
Iraq: Finding the story
I work with Awatif in southern Iraq, but we had to travel across the country to get to know one another.
Zimbabwe: Urban gardens nourish families and communities
Until last year, 81-year-old Lucia Mbanje and her family of six, all residents of impoverished Sakubva township in Mutare, could not afford a balanced diet due to the prohibitive cost of vegetables in Zimbabwe as a result of the economic crisis.