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
Indonesia: Bringing joy back to Aceh
Lately it’s been quite cold because of the marathon rain pouring down nonstop for the last two days over Banda Aceh. The clouds have been sending away the intense sunshine that usually covers the town.
Mongolia: A harsh reality for Mongolia's herders
I just listened to a piece on NPR (National Public Radio) about how the global financial crisis continues to plague one of the world's most remote places: Mongolia.
Niger: Climate change and Niger
Global warming is not only causing already-meager water supplies in the West African nation of Niger to dry up — it's also driving young men from drought-stricken rural areas in search of work to provide for their families.
Indonesia: Crickets, crackers and chairs
Tajikistan: Lord of the bees
Beekeeping is an extremely valued activity in many areas of the world, and honey enjoys a nearly mythological reputation in many cultures. It should – promises weren’t made about a land of milk and honey for nothing.
Afghanistan: Well worth the effort
For most of us, putting a meal on the table involves a trip to the store to purchase food and some time in the kitchen to prepare it.
Niger: Multiplying their bounty
Four years ago, a widespread food crisis in the West African nation of Niger threatened the lives of nearly 3.5 million people in more than 3,800 villages.
Sri Lanka: Welcomed signs in Navgirinagar
As the clear skies of Ampara and Batticaloa districts in eastern Sri Lanka are quietly invaded by grey, there is talk of rain. Since a majority of these districts’ residents fully or partially dependent on farming for their livelihood, rain — at the right time — is a boon.
Poor countries see little relief from food crisis
Thirty countries still need outside food aid, according to the latest report from the UN's food agency:
Tajikistan: What would you do for an interview?
Amy promised me pancakes if I wrote a blog entry, and I’ve accepted her terms.