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.
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.
Haiti: Bringing trees back to the mountains
Farmer Selina Marie (right) carries tree saplings to plant throughout her farm, high in the mountainous community of Sibase.
Mali, Niger: What you want to know about the Sahel hunger crisis
The hunger crisis in the Sahel is not an immediate emergency that gets splashed across the evening news. Instead, the tragic circumstances of drought and failed harvests have been building since the beginning of the year.
Zimbabwe: Happier families are built on...mushrooms?
“At Mercy Corps we talk about ‘Be the change.’ This is The Change,” Lloyd Chasinda, Mercy Corps’ Project Officer in Checheche, Zimbabwe, tells me.
Ethiopia: One year later, helping children survive in the Horn of Africa
You might hear it called a “slow onset” emergency because, unlike the sudden strike of an earthquake, drought builds gradually. But don’t bother telling that to the mothers whose children are hanging on by a thread; slow isn’t the word they would choose. Grueling, they might say. Nerve-wracking.
Niger: Feeding families in the Sahel