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.
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How you changed the world in 2017
Your compassion and generosity helped us transform nearly 22 million lives this past year. Here are just a few of the ways you made the world a better place in 2017.
Guatemala: A future without migration: How we’re empowering youth to build a life at home
Migration is rampant is some parts of Guatemala. We're providing young people with the education and skills they need to thrive without having to leave their community.
Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Haiti, Niger, Pakistan, Timor-Leste, Yemen: Where are the 11 hungriest countries in the world?
Hunger is a global problem that goes well beyond Africa. How many of the world's hungriest countries can you name?
Is international aid worth it?
On a scorching afternoon in southern Niger, five village women patrol a labyrinth of plants. It is the dry season here, the hardest time to find enough to eat, but the delicate leaves they turn in their hands tell a more promising story.
Ethiopia: How investing in resilience helps fight drought
Mercy Corps and partners have been investing in building resilience for families affected by droughts. Their project report evaluates the positive effects of being resilience-focused in the face of a severe shock.
Guatemala: Technology connects snow pea farmers to success
The export market is critical for snow pea farmers. To help them stay on the path to success, we’re connecting them to a new software that tracks their harvests.
Niger: How farm school is helping Salma beat hunger
Through training and new techniques, Salma and her community are learning to grow more hearty, bountiful crops to carry them through the hunger gap, the time between harvests when food stores traditionally run out.
Ethiopia: PHOTOS: How rural women are cashing in on the milk business
We connected milk producers in remote areas with a milk processing factory to buy their milk, strengthening the dairy chain and improving lives every step of the way.
Niger: The hidden survivors of the hunger gap
Every year, millions of people in Niger have to figure out how they will survive between harvests. This is what they look like.
PHOTOS: Kitchens around the world
In every corner of the world, food brings people together. But where we cook and gather looks different for each one of us, depending on where we live and what we've been through.