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
Tajikistan: From tomatoes to empowerment
While we’re spending this month focused entirely on the transport and distribution of wheat flour, lentils and oil to nearly 5,000 women, it’s actually a small component of USAID and Mercy Corps’ Single Year Assistance Program (SYAP) here.
The multiplier effect of wine
I have to admit, one of my favorite field visits involved moderate intoxication, plates of sausage and gales of hearty laughter.
Tajikistan: It's lunchtime!
Working out in the field is exhilarating for so many reasons. It’s a chance to see the program in action; to meet with locals and hear their stories; and to take in the stunning landscape that this country offers so effortlessly. Oh, and then there’s lunch.
A man does what he must to provide for his family. But in the small West African nation of Togo, it goes much deeper than that: each man is assigned a name based on the things he does, and is constantly judged by it.
Myanmar: Regrowing the Garden
Life here in Bo Kone, Myanmar, a village of about a thousand people, has never been easy. Located on an isolated island in the Irrawaddy Delta, it's about an hour's boat ride to the nearest town.
Sri Lanka: Farming Rice, Intensively
Rice is central to Sri Lanka's economy and culture. So it's not hard to imagine how a new technique for improving rice production would be eagerly welcomed by farmers like Kanthi Weerasinghe.
Kyrgyzstan: Leaving a Blooming Legacy
The 2,000 people of Tosor are proud of their little lakeside village. Located at the base of a spectacular mountain range, on the shores of one of the world's largest mountain lakes, Tosor boasts a long history of writers, painters and composers.
Myanmar: Burmese farmers caught in poverty trap
Farming communities in Myanmar's Irrawaddy Delta have always followed a cycle of debt. Each year, wealthy land owners would lend farmers money, tools and cattle needed to till the soil. After the harvest, the debt is repayed and the cycle continues.
Sri Lanka: Financing Higher Yields
Thalankudha, Sri Lanka — When I met farmer Suman Suntharalingam in front of his mud-walled home here, he had just returned from selling 15 pounds of long beans and buying fuel for his water pump — two tasks that could be traced back to help he received from Mercy Corps.
Afghanistan: The Fruits of a New Beginning
The roads leading outside of Takhar are lined with 10-foot-tall walls, a long line of mud and rock that stretches on for at least five miles.