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.
Tajikistan: Food supplies dwindle as extreme winter drags on
In the high villages of Askalon Jamoat, there is no food left in the shops, and households are completely reliant on their own dwindling supplies as access is completely cut off.
Niger: Update from the field: Food crisis is just beginning
Guatemala: Land ownership yields stronger, healthier communities
Families in the rural highlands are dependent on the land, but years of civil war have diminished resources. Find out how they are rebuilding from the ground up.
Niger: "There is nothing to eat"
During the two weeks I recently spent with in Niger with our emergency response teams, I kept hearing the same thing over and over: There is nothing to eat.
Niger: Families seek food assistance
Due to worsening food shortages, the nutritional screening centers that Mercy Corps established several years ago have experienced a massive increase in patients.
Niger: Mother and child in Niger
One of many mothers worried about the lack of food for their children after severe drought and a meager 2011 harvest have brought the lean season to Filingue and the rest of Niger months early.
Niger: Malnutrition screenings in Filingue
Mothers — and often grandmothers caring for babies left orphaned — come to the nutritional screening center in Filingue, where Mercy Corps volunteers assess each child for malnourishment using arm measurements and a formula that takes into account age and weight.
Myanmar: A father plants seeds for a new future
A wide grin spreads across U Myo Zaw’s long, lively face as he eyes his new watering cans and vegetable seeds. The relatively simple supplies will help him cultivate his own small plot of land, a tremendous symbol of personal progress for him.
Japan: Women back to work as seaweed harvesting begins
Yesterday I met Hiroko Mirura. In her early 60s, Ms. Mirura is a former scallop merchant, proud wife of a fisherman, and a strong female leader in the town of Minamisanriku.
Niger: The growing food crisis in Niger
There’s a crisis brewing in Niger, West Africa.