The world is changing, and it is changing fast! It is our responsibility as development agencies and agriculture specialists to assist producers, traders, consumers, and all stakeholders in the agriculture system to be prepared for these changes, become more resilient in the face of new shocks and trends, and thrive in this new environment.
First, increasing climate variability, coupled with demographic growth, leads to more and more pressure on soil and water resources, and even conflicts. Mercy Corps helps producers, small and big, protect and valorize each piece of land and each drop of water, to ensure they can maximize agriculture outputs, now and in the future. This includes improving agricultural and water management techniques at field and landscape levels – through our permagardens and Resilience Design in Smallholder Farming system approach (see below); and improving governance – helping producers, especially women and youth, ensure their access to land will go a long way in promoting long term investments in natural resources and agricultural productivity, and mitigating conflicts over resources. See our work on land tilling in Colombia and Guatemala below.
Second, actors in the agriculture system need to be able to engage in global markets. By harnessing technology, including the digitalization of agri-services, and professionalizing agri-enterprises at each step of the supply chains, Mercy Corps ensures that all benefit from efficient and profitable supply chains. Through its Agrifin Mobile and Agrifin Accelerate programs, Mercy Corps has developed bundled digital services serving smallholder farmers in Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The number of urban consumers today is exploding at 3.5 billion and is estimated to reach 6 billion in 40 years, posing new challenges for agriculture systems. If we are to feed the urban population and ensure a healthy future, we need to engage youth meaningfully in the agriculture system. Young people, with their creativity, drive and innovation, have incredible potential to revolutionize the sector and their economies, ensuring safe and reputable livelihoods alongside improved household and community food security. Mercy Corps is committed to develop specific programs that address the specific needs of youth in agriculture systems. Learn more about our approach in engaging youth.
Mercy Corps is committed to sharing its best practices and lessons learned with the broader non-governmental organization (NGO) community. As the former lead agency for Agriculture and Natural Resource Management on the Technical and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) program, Mercy Corps is implementing a follow-on associate award. Now called SCALE (Strengthening Capacity in Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Environment), this new 5-year project is designed to improve the impact, sustainability, and scalability of FFP’s programming in agriculture, natural resource management, and livelihoods in both emergency and development contexts. This global award, funded by USAID/FFP, continues to position us as a lead agency in agricultural capacity strengthening and learning for all FFP programs implemented by Mercy Corps and other agencies. In this program, SCALE will take a strategic approach to knowledge capture, generation, application, and sharing to establish long-term sustainable processes and measure impact.
Beyond Cash: Making Markets Work in Crisis
Outlining a better approach to crisis response
Central African Republic: Conflict Analysis in Bouar, CAR
Mercy Corps in the Central African Republic (CAR) recently carried out a conflict analysis which provides an in-depth look at the actors, interests, and drivers of conflict in the Bouar region, while also providing recommendations aimed at de-escalating the conflict.
Uganda: Refugee Markets Brief: The power of markets to support refugee economic opportunities in West Nile, Uganda
With Uganda now home to over one million South Sudanese refugees, aid actors in the country’s West Nile region are looking for sustainable strategies to help individuals cope and recover.
Resilience Design in Smallholder Farming Systems Approach
Mercy Corps developed the Resilience Design (RD) in Smallholder Farming Systems Approach to help farmers and those who support them build a more productive and resilient farming system.
Indonesia: Bundled Branchless Banking and Loan Services for Farmers
Agri-Fin Mobile partnered with Bank Mandiri in Indonesia to train Farmer Group Union Leaders to be mobile bank agents.
Indonesia: Agriculture Financing Business Model
Agri-Fin Mobile Indonesia works with partners to deliver agriculture financing to rural farmers that have increased farmer yields and income.
Young People & Agriculture: Strategic Priorities for Impact
Mercy Corps sees three key areas of strategic importance when it comes to engaging young people in agriculture.
Liberia: Growing a Future: Liberian Youth Reflect on Agriculture Livelihoods
New research investigates the role youth play in Liberia's agricultural development, and provides insights on how to better engage youth in agriculture programs, from production to plate.
Syria: Al-Hasakeh, Syria Agricultural Assessment
Mercy Corps conducts an assessment to better understand the new normal of the Syrian agricultural economy.
Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture Programming: A Nutrition-Sensitive Approach for Market-Based Agricultural Projects
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest among international development professionals in strengthening linkages between agriculture and nutrition in the communities where we work.