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
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.
Ethiopia: Grain storage bags make a big impact for Ethiopia's farmers
Ethiopia: A simple solution makes a big impact for Ethiopia's farming families
When drought hits and families are struggling to survive, the solutions don’t always have to be complicated or expensive. As I learnt from our team in Ethiopia last year, something as simple as a sack can mean the difference between hunger and happiness for a farming family.
Mongolia: Songs of success
Tserennadmid is a woman with plenty to sing about. Her company, Zugraan Egshig, or Six Tunes, is a thriving tourism and produce business located in an especially scenic region of Mongolia's Arkhangai province.
Nepal: From unbanked to borrowers
If you’re a bank, eastern Nepal might not seem like the most desirable place to open new branches.
Myanmar: Daw Than Than Shwe, rice farmer
Fifty-five-year-old Daw Than Than Shwe, a mother of two, grows 27 acres of rice in Kyu Taw village in Myanmar's Irawaddy Delta.
Myanmar: Improving harvests in a cyclone's wake
Tun Myint, 61, has been farming since he was a teenager. Smiling broadly under a bamboo hat, he greeted us and was eager to take us to see his 20 acres of rice fields.
Afghanistan: What it's like in Helmand
Helmand, where I’ve worked for the last two years, is certainly a fascinating place. It is a place where you can wake to yet another suicide bombing that rattles the windows and leaves you wondering who might have been the target this time.
Kenya: 2.5 million bits of hope in northeast Kenya
Things are not getting better in the Horn of Africa. In the nearly three months since I visited the region, the landscape has gotten drier, and people and animals have become more desperate for water and food.