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Core Program Areas

Agriculture Education Emergencies Health HIV and AIDS Microfinance Peacebuilding Water and Sanitation

Cross-Cutting Areas

Capacity Strengthening Climate Change ICT4D IHD Monitoring and Evaluation Youth

Agriculture and Environment

Farming remains the primary economic activity for the vast majority of people in the world’s poorest countries, and farmers face daunting challenges in a globalized economy and an increasingly troubled natural environment: rising costs for fuel, fertilizer, and other inputs, climate change, water shortages, social and political upheaval, and more. All too often, the consequences for the poorest of the poor are chronic hunger and malnutrition.

Catholic Relief Services works to promote the well-being and dignity of poor farm families throughout the world. Agricultural development is vital to reducing poverty in developing countries.  CRS and partners’ innovative agriculture and environment programs help people to:

  • prepare for and respond to disasters
  • improve their agricultural productivity
  • improve household health and nutrition
  • promote environmental stewardship
  • increase their incomes

Who benefits?

CRS helps the poorest of the world’s poor.  We are committed to programming that empowers women to take active decision-making roles.  We promote innovative methods that give special consideration to people living with HIV and AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children, refugees and displaced populations, the landless and urban poor, and other vulnerable populations throughout the world.


In the field, CRS works through a unique and broad-based network of faith and community-based organizations to improve the livelihood opportunities of poor communities living in developing countries. These partners work directly with farmers, and CRS focuses on building their capacity to provide comprehensive agricultural support, from rapid onset emergency relief to short and long-term development processes.

We seek to forge long-term links with a range of service providers, typically including local development agencies, research institutions, government administration, and the private sector.

There is renewed interest in investing in agriculture as a means to alleviate poverty.  Donors such as the United States Government, the World Bank, and major foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Howard G. Buffett Foundation recognize the vital role that agriculture plays in poverty reduction, employment and growth.  CRS continues to work with these partners to further leverage the generous support we receive from the U.S. Catholic community.

In addition to our dedicated agricultural teams and technical partners, activities are further supported by CRS and partner expertise in the fields of peacebuilding, HIV, health, education, water and sanitation, microfinance, gender, and emergency response.  Given the central role that agriculture plays in the lives of the majority of the poorest of the world’s poor, this kind of collaboration lies at the heart of CRS’ developmental ambitions to help the world’s most vulnerable people build better livelihoods.