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
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.
Haiti: Interviews in the camps, a year later
A few days ago, I went out to the Mojapta displacement camp, where Mercy Corps is providing clean water and sanitation to families, to ask earthquake survivors about their experiences today — and of the last year. Gilberte Jean, 23
Indonesia: Bringing healthy street food to Tegal Alur
“Hi friends! Come to My Child's Café… choose and get various healthy snacks here,” said a catchy jingle that played during over the grand opening of My Child Café and its healthy kitchen in West Jakarta's impoverished Tegal Alur neighborhood.
Uganda: Small farm, nutritious food, healthy pregnancy
The Dwog-Paco women’s group is located 44 kilometers from Kitgum, one of northern Uganda’s largest towns, along a muddy terrain road deep inside the Acholi ethnic group's homeland.
Zimbabwe: Beauty Jokonya with crop
Beauty Jokonya, a local farmer in Zimbabwe's Murehwa district, with bounty from her crop field — which, with help from Mercy Corps, she and her husband irrigate with a treadle pump.
Zimbabwe: Better living through treadle pumps
One of the greatest challenges that smallholder farmers face in Zimbabwe is how to irrigate bigger plots and get higher returns from their pieces of land.
Uganda: ‘Staying lonely is not easy’
In a place for the displaced, two women share a common bond; one wisened and weathered, the other young, ambitious and full of ideas.
Afghanistan: Searching for the next Frank Perdue
Tajikistan: Turning water into cash
“For the last three years, my yields have been 30 percent of what they were before,” says Sabur Kumischev, as he makes a sweeping motion with his hand indicating the land where his crops are grown. “All I could grow was corn. The other farmers could only grow corn.