7.6 million

people served by agriculture and livelihood programming


agriculture and livelihood projects in 2020


countries hosted CRS agriculture projects

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About Agriculture

Pathway to Prosperity

Catholic Relief Services helps millions of smallholder farmers worldwide recover from natural disasters and civil strife, build resilient farming systems, and grow them into agro-enterprises that engage successfully with markets. Our Pathway to Prosperity approach helps farmers build sustainable livelihoods through a phase-by-phase process. We currently have 157 agriculture projects in 47 countries. Please click the image below for details into the Pathway to Prosperity process. 

Learn more about Pathway to Prosperity


CRS Agriculture and Livelihoods Theory of Change

CRS' agricultural Theory of Change explains how and why a desired change is expected to happen through a project, and how the change is measured. CRS developed this Theory of Change to help teams design and implement projects that focus on a more consistent set of assumptions, and analyze progress using a defined set of metrics.


Reach of CRS Agriculture & Livelihoods Programs: Countries and Participants

Hover over a country for information on the number of direct participants and indirect participants (family members). For more detailed country information, visit Where We Work.


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For more detailed country information, visit Where We Work.


Building Resilience

CRS has a deep history of building resilience by helping individuals to address the challenges of recurrent shocks and chronic stresses. CRS’ Integral Human Development (IHD) Framework places people at the center of development, promoting a holistic approach to wellbeing that includes multiple human assets, as well as the ways in which people interact with the institutions and systems that impact their lives. Learn more.


Savings and Lending Groups

An integral part of our agricultural development programs is to help farmers organize into savings groups where they can pool their money and borrow from each other. This enables them to buy seeds, equipment and other assets they need to build successful businesses. To date, savings groups organized by CRS have saved almost $23 million through more than 196,000 groups in 60 countries, benefitting nearly five million beneficiaries worldwide.

Learn more about Savings and Lending Groups



CRS also implements an agricultural development volunteer program funded by USAID, Farmer to Farmer (F2F). The program sends US citizens with skillsets applicable to agriculture to Benin, Ethiopia, Nepal, Rwanda, Timor Leste, and Uganda to help local farmers, schools, agribusinesses and universities. The project runs from 2019-23, and will benefit 211 host organizations and train over 46,000 people, 18,400 of whom will be women. As of March 2021, we have sent volunteers on 174 assignments. Future adjustments may be made to program targets due to the COVID pandemic. During the 2013-18 phase of the program, CRS sent volunteers on 500 assignments to help 163 host organizations, and reaching 43,133 direct beneficiaries in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Learn more about Farmer-to-Farmer



US Department of Agriculture

USDA logo

Through funding from the United States Department of Agriculture McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition and Food for Progress Programs, Catholic Relief Services leads effective education and agricultural development projects to build strong, resilient futures among the world’s most vulnerable people. Together, through school feeding, quality education, and improved livelihoods of smallholder farming families, USDA and CRS are committed to building opportunities and ending hunger among those we serve.

CRS participated in the 2023 Borlaug Dialogue

The 2023 Borlaug Dialogue, hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation, took place October 24-26, 2023, in Des Moines, IA. The dialogue focused on “Harnessing Change” by harnessing innovation, adaptation, and diversification to improve systemic resilience, recover from shocks, and sustainably nourish all people.

CRS hosted 2 side-events

Agile data systems for food security monitoring, resilience insights, forecasting, and collaborative response

At this event, we shared and learned from each other about ways to design, implement, and collaborate around food security data systems.


  • Austen Moore, Sr. Technical Advisor, CRS (Moderator)
  • Chisomo Ngosi, Program Manager, CRS Malawi
  • Joanna Upton, PhD, Sr. Research Associate, Cornell University
  • Nobuo Yoshida, Lead Economist for Poverty & Equity Global Practice, World Bank

Download the presentation- PDF

Regenerating Hope: The promise of soil restoration at scale in Central America and Africa

A panel of experts from Latin America and Africa examined the vital role of soil restoration in sustainable intensification, climate adaptation and resilience for smallholder farmers. Catholic Relief Services, CIMMYT and CIAT highlighted results from a new study that identifies best-bet climate adaptation and risk mitigation strategies for Central American farmers that include potential alternative crops to maize and beans for the decades to come.


  • Susan Chomba, Director of Vital Landscapes, WRI Africa (Moderator)
  • Aggrey Agumya, Executive Director, FARA
  • Axel Schmidt, Agriculture Science & Research Advisor, Land Restoration Platform, CRS
  • Maria Boa Alvarado, Ph.D. Candidate, Cornell University, formerly CIMMYT
  • Marcela Quintero, Associate Director General, Alliance Bioversity/CIAT


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