Agricultural Development

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 programmes, 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 programmes 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 organisation (NGO) community. As the former lead agency for Agriculture and Natural Resource Management on the Technical and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) programme, 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 programmes implemented by Mercy Corps and other agencies. In this programme, SCALE will take a strategic approach to knowledge capture, generation, application, and sharing to establish long-term sustainable processes and measure impact.

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