It is estimated that 900 million rural people in the developing world live on less than $1 a day. The most recent estimates from UN-FAO find that 1 billion people worldwide are undernourished. While this level of poverty and food insecurity is severe, the agricultural sector offers an effective leverage point to alleviate this suffering: The world’s 450 million small farms – two hectares or less – are home to about two billion people, comprising roughly 46% of the global workforce. In the countries where Mercy Corps works, agriculture accounts for 30% of the GDP on average and is the lead means of food security and income for 57% of the population. Improving yields and diversifying production leads to higher incomes and improved food security. Research shows that a 1% increase in yields can decrease the percentage of the population living on $1 a day by 0.91%. Hence, agriculture as a livelihood for a large demographic group around the world and a primary means for food security offers a direct avenue for meaningful reductions in global hunger and poverty.
In recognition that access to and availability of adequate food production and economic opportunities is integral to the success of relief and development programming, Mercy Corps currently operates upwards of 70 agricultural development projects in over 25 countries worth approximately $100 million. These projects specifically work with farmers, agri-business, and local governments to decrease hunger, increase incomes and improve environmental sustainability.
To learn how we help people leverage the benefits of agricultural development, take a look at the reports shared below.
Mercy Corps is also committed to sharing its best practices and lessons learned with the broader non-governmental organization (NGO) community, for example through Mercy Corps’ position as Agriculture and Natural Resource Management lead on the Technical and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) program, funded by the USAID office of Food for Peace (FFP). TOPS strengthens the capacity of FFP grantees in Title II countries to deliver high quality and effective food assistance by fostering collaboration, innovation and knowledge sharing about improved food security and nutrition practices. For more information click here or visit the TOPS supported FSN Network website: www.fsnnetwork.org.
All stories about Agricultural Development
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.
Economic Recovery Assessment: Sierra Leone
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has devastated communities in the three most affected countries: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Lebanon: Value Chain Assessment in Bekaa Valley
With support from the European Union, Mercy Corps conducted a market value chain analysis in Bekaa Valley to inform a series of agriculture programming.
Building Resilient Food Systems through Agroecological Principles and Practices
Improving smallholder agricultural productivity holds great potential to address poverty, improve household food security and build resilience.
Guatemala: Successes and Setbacks: Mediating Land Conflicts in Rural Guatemala
The majestic, mountainous landscape of rural Guatemala appears idyllic, but combustible tensions permeate the fertile terrain that indigenous farmers hold sacred and depend on for their livelihoods
Tools for Resilience: Agroecological Risk and Resilience Screening Tool
Applying a resilience lens to food system analysis and programming requires that we pay particular attention to understanding the ways shocks, stressors and even program interventions that impact o
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.