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
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.
Ethiopia: Coping with drought by building peace
We sent out a team to research why one drought-stricken community was coping so well. The findings were striking: When local conflict had been addressed, people were far better equipped to survive the drought.
Mali: Families stock up on food
Mercy Corps teams are distributing emergency monthly vouchers to families in northern Mali that allow them to buy food on the local market. The money gets them a month's supply of the necessary basics they choose; most are stocking up on oil and rice.
Mali: Emergency food aid is just the start
Mercy Corps teams are now providing desperately needed assistance in Mali to those who are struggling to find enough to eat.
Ethiopia: Feeding hungry babies
In Ida Adays village, our mobile health team weighed seven-month-old Nasteho Mohamed and found her to be malnourished. She weighed only 4kg, but at her age should be somewhere around 4.8kg.
Zimbabwe: Innovative farming initiative recognized at Clinton gathering
Mercy Corps and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation were recognized at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City on Tuesday for their Commitment to Action to implement Agri-Fin Mobile.
Haiti: Isaac update: Safety nets working in storm's wake
As we've watched what became Hurricane Isaac batter the U.S. Gulf coast, the importance of a strengthened infrastructure and emergency plan is incredibly clear.