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Ezra Millstein/Mercy Corps

MERCY CORPS: Helping farmers adapt to climate change and feed millions

Mercy Corps’ AgriFin program in Kenya is helping farmers like Paul Mwendo adapt to years of inadequate rainfall, with high-quality seeds for drought-tolerant crops and connections to new commercial buyers via mobile phone. For small-scale farmers, COVID-19 intensifies the already severe impacts of the climate crisis, not only for the farmers’ livelihoods, but for the millions of people they feed. As rural producers struggle to get seeds, fertilizer and other agricultural resources, local markets have shut down, travel has become difficult, and the credit farmers need to bridge the gap has grown scarce. The World Food Program warns that the number of people experiencing food insecurity could increase by 82% — an additional 270 million hungry people — in 2021, 50% of whom are small-scale farmers.

Mercy Corps’ AgriFin program helps small-scale farmers adapt to the impacts of a changing climate and shocks like COVID‑19 by providing access to data and insights to help respond to unpredictable weather and pests, as well as digital financial services to keep their enterprises afloat. To date, 5.5 million farmers in seven African countries and Indonesia have accessed digital products and services through the program. In 2021, the program will scale to reach 16 million, with a focus on small-scale farmers in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.



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