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.
Agricultural Development Sector Approach
Mercy Corps adopts a holistic approach to ensure agro-systems are economically productive, nutritionally diverse and efficient. With the goal of improving the lives and livelihoods of those in agricultural value chains, including smallholder farmers and pastoralists, our agricultural interventions are designed to favorably impact populations on three fronts.
Agricultural Development Sector Overview
This short document gives an overview of the agricultural development sector and how Mercy Corps structures and implements our global agricultural development programs.
Mercy Corps and Pastoralism
More than 200 million people rely on livestock to sustain mobile, pastoralist lifestyles. This document explains their current challenges and how Mercy Corps addresses their needs issues to build resilience.
Myanmar: Socio-Economic Analysis of Kayah State in Myanmar
In March - June 2013, a consortium involving Mercy Corps and four other INGO and NGO partners conducted a socio-economic analysis of Kayah State in Myanmar with funding from the European Union.
Ethiopia: Coping with Drought in Ethiopia by Building Peace
Promoting resilience has gained attention in the wake of the recent drought in the Horn of Africa.
Agricultural Development Learning Study
Nearly half of the world’s workforce relies on growing food for their livelihoods .