Growing in the Right Direction with Sustainable Agriculture

“These new methods of farming give us enough food to make sure we don’t go to bed hungry.”

– Kingston, Program Participant, Malawi


Sustainable agriculture is an integrated system that focuses on meeting the present needs of food production and livelihoods without undermining the environment, economics, and social equity for future generations.

PCI approaches sustainable agriculture holistically through integration in many of our broader health, nutrition, and food security projects. We understand that sustainable agriculture always consists of three simultaneously, if possible, applied components:

  1. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes;
  2. Adapting and building resilience to climate change; and
  3. Reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, where and whenever possible.

The continuous application of these three components will lead to developing the potential to increase the productivity for food security and consequently the incomes from smallholder crop, livestock, and forest production systems and with the aim to improve the lives of the most vulnerable rural populations.

PCI’s agricultural programs are helping transform the lives of smallholder farmers around the world by building their capacity in sustainable agriculture – protecting crops, adopting new technologies, and building resilience. PCI identifies nutrition-sensitive agriculture, management of natural resources, access to markets and long-term economic viability, and gender equity critical to improving the lives of farmers and their communities.

young boys in field

Increasing Agricultural Production and Incomes

In Malawi, through the Njira Project, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Food for Peace (FFP) funded project, PCI in partnership with Emmanuel International, works to improve food security for populations in Balaka and Machinga districts through integrated activities that aim to: increase sustainable agricultural productivity, increase the availability of diverse, nutritious foods; increase income-generating opportunities through savings/lending groups and linkages to agricultural markets; and engage communities in disaster risk reduction activities. PCI works with smallholder farmers to increase households’ knowledge and adoption of improved sustainable agricultural practices and increase access to, for instance, high-quality drought tolerant crops and livestock. Implemented in 84 communities, Njira has improved agriculture technologies or land management practices on over 2,700 hectares of land. Njira uses an integrated community based approach to improve maternal and child health and nutrition as well as improve communities’ ability to respond to shocks and stresses.   

On the other side of the world, vulnerable rural households in Guatemala’s Western Highlands face food insecurity due to poor crop production, which is exacerbated by climate volatility. With funding from USAID/FFP, and in collaboration with Save the Children, the PAISANO program focuses on increasing local food access – assisting farmers with diversifying and increasing production through sustainable agriculture – while reducing chronic malnutrition among children and pregnant and lactating women and increasing resilience to climate change related shocks and stressors. PAISANO has improved the lives of over 2,750 families with increased access to nutritious vegetables and proteins through gardens, livestock rearing, and improved farming methods.

Additionally, PCI is working to mitigate the impact of extreme drought conditions in highly vulnerable households in Huehuetenango through an emergency food security program. The USAID-funded program, entitled ACCION, is increasing access to food for households with pregnant women/new mothers and children who are malnourished through the distribution of nutrient-rich supplementary foods and food vouchers. In addition, in responding to immediate needs for access to food, ACCION is improving hygiene, health, and nutrition at the household and community levels and is securing treatment for severe cases of malnutrition.

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Support PCI’s efforts to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship worldwide.


Empowering Women with Agricultural Resiliency 

In many developing countries, agriculture is the primary means for livelihood and employs a large percentage of the working population. When drought and inconsistent rainfall plague the region, their main staples (e.g., maize, rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, etc.), fail to grow and leave smallholder farmers struggling to adapt to and overcome climate-change effects. PCI’s Women Empowered (WE) savings groups in Malawi, Tanzania, and Guatemala meet regularly to focus on building a strong social foundation of trust and cohesion. The groups help members build their resilience to shocks and stressors of a fluctuating agriculture-heavy economy. This safety net helps members have access to loans during food shortages to feed families and sustain their businesses. In Malawi, over 23,800 individuals are participating in WE groups and have collectively saved close to $1 million.

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