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.
Ethiopia: Finding her way through drought
Fatumo lost ten camels in the drought that ravaged Ethiopia two years ago. She grew more desperate as her children went hungry. But today there are signs of recovery — and Fatumo is relying on each day's collection of milk to rebuild.
Guatemala: Meet our field staff: Carlos
Fighting for the rights of rural communities comes naturally to Carlos. Find out why he's dedicated to improving lives in his own country.
Timor-Leste: Fighting hunger in a neglected nation
In one of the world's newest countries, where over one-third of the population regularly experiences food shortages, we're helping 4,500 subsistence farmers build the foundation for sustainable change.
Haiti: Three years later, investing in the long-term
Since the January 2010 earthquake, Mercy Corps has reached more than 1.6 million people with lifesaving assistance. Now, we're investing in youth, small business owners and rural communities to build back stronger.
Haiti: Building back stronger
Through programs that empower young people, support entrepreneurs, and protect valuable natural resources, Haitians are finding new reasons to hope.
Indonesia: Food carts on a whole new scale
In Jakarta, our teams found that 17% percent of children under 5 are malnourished, while 12% are overweight.
Myanmar: An acre of rice for Kyi
In rural Sit Kone village, accessible only by a two-hour boat ride from the closest town, Kyi (pictured left) depends on his land to support his family of eight.
Niger: A goat for Santou
Feeding six children has not been easy for Santou — especially as a hunger crisis took hold of Niger and the entire Sahel region of West Africa this year.
Niger: Women farming more food
In the Djolley Fandou village in the drought-stricken Tillaberi region of Niger, women are in charge of the farming; most of the men left early on during the hunger crisis to find work in the city.
Niger: One more meal
At the second of three cash distributions in Niger, Mercy Corps staff heard that families have been able to eat one additional meal every day thanks to the support.