5 Ways CARE Helps to Prevent a Food Crisis

We know the climate is changing. We’ve also seen shifting weather patterns create overwhelming results. For a family that is already struggling, drought or an extra-long lean season with food shortages can be devastating.

So how does CARE help prevent such a food shock from becoming a full-blown crisis? Here are five ways:

1.The right seeds for the job

CARE helps farmers in drought-prone communities to use different types of seeds such as sorghum, cowpeas, sesame, watermelon, tomato, onion, eggplant and okra. These seeds are bred to need less water and to grow faster, which allows for more food to be grown during the rainy season so there is enough food in times of drought.

2. Saving for a not-so-rainy day

Being better prepared often means having more money in your pocket. CARE’s village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) give women the opportunity to create and invest in small businesses together to earn and save more money. The idea is that beneficiaries can then use this extra cash to better afford food and other daily needs. Emergency funds are also set aside so that families are able to afford food during lean times.

3. Banking on cereal

Cereal grain banks are another way that CARE helps to alleviate the effects of climate change impacts and drought by allowing communities to have reserves of food so they are better prepared for possible shortages. In Mali, for example, community members received grants through the CARE project, which they used to set up cereal banks to store their food and be better prepared for the lean season.

“In that area, you can have cash in your hand, but you can’t afford any food because the inflation goes so fast and so high that they can’t pay enough to eat,” says Pierre Kadet, food security and livelihoods advisor for CARE Canada. “If you have enough community cereal banks, the prices are regulated and you can buy food at a very affordable price.”

4. Being “climate-smart” about farming

CARE helps farmers employ techniques that allow soil to retain more of its moisture and fertility. We encourage the use of mulch, planting different varieties of crops together, and less disruption of soil (less tilling) so that the soil remains moist and fertile. Healthy soil means more crops, which means more income and more food!

5. Years of experience partnering with communities

CARE’s emergency team is ready to respond to disasters worldwide, but we would much rather help a community avoid a crisis in the first place. Through 70 years of development experience, we are already well-positioned to help families be stronger and more resilient.

CARE works with communities directly by consulting with community members and using their expertise, providing training, tools, and resources, and by partnering with local organizations and governments when appropriate . Our development work with communities has helped them be better prepared to deal with the impacts of climate change on food production, income, and access to healthy food. In these ways, CARE helps communities prepare and weather “the crisis that never was”.

Learn more about CARE's work to improve access to healthy food and nutrition. You can make a difference by helping communities increase their access to healthy food! Check out all our food and nutrition gifts.