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.
Niger: Children suffer most in hunger crisis
Lauretta dreams of becoming a teacher. But she hasn’t been to school since January, when she had to drop out in order to help her family at home.
Guatemala: Planting better crops
Seven-year-old Ancel Cual excitedly gets his hands dirty helping to plant yucca in his community of Corozal in the northern highlands of Guatemala.
Mongolia: New techniques protect herders’ traditional way of life
In southwest Mongolia, the mix of soaring snow-capped mountains and sweeping sand dunes makes for a stunning landscape — but a tough life for residents trying to raise livestock between two harsh environments.
Yemen: New food program prevents kids from going hungry
Milk? Vegetables? Women from Mawza District in central Yemen laugh. “We dream about the taste of milk, vegetables and fruits.” The reason? Mafi fuloos, they answer — no money.
Niger: Maintaining wells as drought takes its toll
In Niger, cycles of drought and hunger are a harsh reality. Here, a family works on a well that Mercy Corps helped them rebuild.
Mali, Niger: Expanding hunger relief efforts
Our teams are working on expanding desperately needed cash distribution to hungry families in Agadez, the largest city in northern Niger, as the country's food crisis deepens.
Guatemala: A seat at the table: Empowering women in land-conflict mediation
Mercy Corps has been at the forefront of the movement to resolve land conflict in rural Guatemala since 2003. Meet the women who are now leading the charge.
Nepal: Protecting natural resources
Villagers in southwestern Nepal gather to tell Mercy Corps staff about their needs and how they make use of their surrounding environment — land, plants, water. The work is part of an assessment to figure out how to reduce natural resource-based conflict in the area.
Guatemala: Women stake their claim in the land of machismo
Their roots of land conflict may date to the Spanish conquistadors, but today we’re giving women the tools to resolve them without resorting to lawyers or guns.
Niger: Schools empty as food shortage worsens
Twelve-year-old Lauretta was forced to drop out of school to help keep house and watch her younger brother while her mother forages for food to feed the family.