The majority of people Concern works with are involved in some way with farming and food production. In countries like Malawi and Afghanistan, it’s essentially everyone. Many of these communities are also on the frontlines of climate change. We work with rural communities to promote new growing techniques, source improved seeds, trial alternative crops, and implement soil protection practices.
We support communities to adopt Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices in order to become more resilient to a less-predictable climate. We also work to strengthen links with the private sector to facilitate access to supplies and equipment. We are committed to rolling out CSA to 600,000 farmers as part of our strategic plan, while also supporting the African Union to roll out CSA to 6 million farmers on the continent by 2021.
How potatoes have changed lives in Ethiopia
“Barley doesn’t really work well here,” Concern’s Mesafint Melak explains. “The yield is poor and it’s not very drought-resistant. Potatoes are much better.”
Farmers in Afghanistan cope with change
The growing season is short, winter is both long and harsh, and hunger is a constant. Concern has been helping farmers better manage the agricultural environment.
Climate smart agriculture
Almost everyone here relies on the land for survival, and traditionally almost everyone grows maize. But, as the weather has become more erratic over the years, that reliance has become a problem.
Agroforestry in action
FDR’s response was to the Dust Bowl crisis was to put in place a massive soil conservation program and to plant 200 million trees. Today, across the “Drylands” of Africa, we’re echoing that response… on a somewhat smaller scale.
- Concern has Climate Smart Agriculture-focused programs in 19 out of the 24 countries we currently work in
- In 2018, we worked directly with over 166,000 people on agriculture-related projects
- In Ethiopia, 2.5 acres of potatoes makes 10x the price of 2.5 acres of barley
- In Sierra Leone, where the repercussions of the 2014-16 West African Ebola Virus Epidemic are still affecting livelihoods, we worked with over 4,000 of the most vulnerable households in 2018 to help improve food production, reduce post-harvest food loss, and increase income. We also established and trained 9 new farmer field school groups to improve farming practices.
- In 2018, we supplied over 1,900 families in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with vegetable seeds, pesticide sprayers, plastic sheets, and shovels to make kitchen gardens. Each household produced an average 770 pounds of vegetables.
- In the Tigray region of Ethiopia, over 3,000 women were given seeds, tools, and training to practice backyard gardening so they could diversify both their own diet as well as that of their children’s. The resulting vegetable and fruit plantations covered over 1,200 acres of land and yielded a wide variety of nutrient-diverse produce.