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
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.
Ethiopia: Bigger harvests, safer food
I’m writing from under my mosquito net in Jijiga, Ethiopia. If you don’t know where that is, don’t feel bad. I didn’t either. I looked it up before I left home, of course, but Google maps only showed a big empty expanse that I suppose is meant to indicate sand.
Kenya: Drought pushing food prices up
Here's an example of how prices have skyrocketed in Kenya because of the drought. The conversion rate is simple: 100 Kenyan shilling equals a dollar.
Central African Republic: You are what you eat
Communal gardens are helping families cultivate new vegetables and easily access more nutritious food right in their own village.
Indonesia: Old wounds reopened in Ambon
“Ambon manise,” (am-bone mah-nee-say) muttered the bewildered project coordinator of Mercy Corps’s Spice Up the Deal Project, as we stood watching midnight fires erupt in Ambon City below us.
Haiti: A step forward for some, a step back for others
This was my fifth trip to Haiti.