Agricultural Development

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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 £60 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 organisation (NGO) community, for example through Mercy Corps’ position as Agriculture and Natural Resource Management lead on the Technical and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) programme, 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:

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