Food Security

Tearfund’s approach to food security is to build resilient communities where all people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. We support communities to produce more food and increase income using sustainable farming practices without undermining the natural environment or resource base for future generations. 

The importance of Agriculture

Agriculture is key to food security, for the livelihoods of millions of people, and for the functioning of the natural resource base. However, the agricultural sector is severely affected by climate change and, at the same time, is responsible for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions. 

In addition, agriculture has a considerable ability for adaptation, and an important potential for mitigation, while safeguarding food security.

Promoting climate-smart agriculture

We promote climate-smart agriculture by sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes – adapting and building resilience to climate change and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, where possible. 

We promote approaches such as:

  • Soil and water conservation through Foundations for Farming/Conservation agriculture, agroforestry, natural resource regeneration, intercropping, Slope Agriculture Land Technology (SALT)
  • Working with the government and research to identify suitable crop and livestock varieties
  • Analysing climatic suitability of major agricultural value chains
  • Food storage and processing to reduce losses through environmentally sustainable ways

Supporting farmers to move from subsistence to profit

Since hunger is essentially a poverty issue, we will support farmers to move from subsistence to profit by linking them to fair markets and making sure they produce enough for both home consumption and sale. People should be able to sustainably commercialise their farming, access markets and sell their produce at fair prices in order to thrive economically and improve food security. 

Food security and disasters

During disasters we will promote food security approaches that concurrently address immediate humanitarian needs, long-term recovery and sustained peace. Wherever possible, cash-based approaches will be promoted as a means for accessing food and materials for relief and recovery such as grains and seeds. These approaches have been proven to stimulate local markets and accelerate economic recovery. 

We would like to see the sustainable development goal (SDG) of zero hunger become a reality in all our communities.

resources on food security

Making markets work front coverMaking markets work (PDF 512 KB)
Markets have the potential to build the resilience and livelihoods of pastoralist communities who are vulnerable to frequent droughts and climate change. This research looks at why current market systems in Kenya aren't doing this, and makes recommendations for governments and development actors on what could make the difference.

From subsistence to markets front coverFrom subsistence to markets (PDF 2.8 MB)
This resource has been written to support in the design, planning and implementation of sustainable, market-based agriculture projects for smallholder farmers and communities.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 2.8 MB)

A practical guide to cereal banks front coverA practical guide to Cereal Banks (PDF 1 MB) 
Cereal banks can be an effective way to tackle food insecurity. This guide contains step-by-step advice on how to set up and run a cereal bank.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 1 MB) and Sindhi (PDF 2.8 MB)

Pillars Improving food security front coverPillars: Improving Food Security (PDF 1.6 MB)
Practical Information on pest control, grain banks and new techniques for food preservation and storage.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 1.2 MB) and Portuguese (PDF 1.6 MB).

Pillars Agroforestry front coverPillars: Agroforestry (PDF 2 MB)
Encouraging awareness of agroforestry for improving soil conservation, nutrition, soil fertility, fuel wood production and family income. Includes details of nursery techniques.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 2.1 MB) 

Prepare to live: Strengthening the resilience of communities to manage food insecurity in the Sahel region front coverStrengthening the Resilience of Communities to Manage Food Insecurity in the Sahel Region (PDF 670 KB)
This report, published in 2007, seeks to better understand how communities in West Africa achieve food security and to identify practical disaster risk reduction (DRR) approaches.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 517 KB).


Footsteps is our online and print magazine for grassroots health and development workers. The following issues relate to various aspects of food security.

Footsteps 7: Home Gardens

Footsteps 10: Small Livestock

Footsteps 15: Soil Erosion

Footsteps 25: Fish Farming

Footsteps 34: Animal Health

Footsteps 52: Nutrition

Footsteps 54: Household Agriculture

Footsteps 65: Adding Value to Food

Footsteps 70: Agriculture and Climate Change

Footsteps 77: Improving Food Security

Footsteps 89: Livestock

Footsteps 94: Valuing Food

Footsteps 95: Keeping Poultry