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
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.
Zimbabwe: VIDEO: Basic technology boosts incomes in Zimbabwe
On my first day in Zimbabwe, I went to visit some farm families in the town of Murejwa. People are poor there, and Mercy Corps is working with them to find ways to boost their incomes.
Afghanistan: Better than meeting Springsteen
Some people are thrilled to meet rock stars or celebrities. I, on the other hand, get really excited about meeting grape growers.
Pakistan: Nothing more precious than a buffalo
Small farmers all over Sindh province were hit hard by this past summer’s catastrophic flooding. Most of these farmers are very poor, living on less than $2 a day.
Haiti: How we're helping families in Haiti's rural villages
I arrived in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday of this week, just ahead of Tomas, the tropical storm that just passed through Haiti today.
Timor-Leste: Small disasters with no voice are important too
In Timor-Leste (East Timor), this year’s weather has caused more serious problems than ever encountered in living memory and beyond. The dry season was meant to start last March.
Indonesia: Chocolate starts out tasting like vanilla yoghurt — who knew?
Whenever I travel, I’m always sure to pack an emergency supply of chocolate. But until yesterday, when I saw cacao trees for the first time and talked to cacao famers in Indonesia about the help they are getting from Mercy Corps, I’d never really thought about where it comes from.