On Thursday, April 12th, the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger hosted a field visit for a delegation from the British Department for International Development (DFID),
led by Andrew Mitchell, UK Secretary of State for International Development. During the visit, he signed an agreement with Daniel Balaban, Director of the WFP Centre to facilitate south-south cooperation between Brazil and Africa. The grant of £ 580,000 will specifically support lessons learning, study exchange visits and strategy development for the piloting of Brazilian systems related to local procurement and feeding programmes in 5 African countries (Mozambique, Malawi, Ethiopia, Senegal and Niger). This partnership supports and enhances ‘PAA Africa’ which is a trilateral partnership between WFP, FAO and the Brazilian Government to promote local purchase of agricultural goods used in food assistance programmes. PAA is Brazil´s national Food Acquisition Programme which buys exclusively from small-holder farmers and is one of the pillars of the Brazil’s Zero Hunger strategy.
The delegation visited the surrounding areas of Brasilia to see first-hand the country´s food security experience. The visit focused on the support to smallholder farming and the linkages to the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE) and PAA, which provides a structure demand for smallholder production. The delegation visited a small-holder farmer to learn about his agricultural activities and his supply to the school feeding programme in the area. The visit to the property generated discussions about local supply chains, fruit production and commercialization, agro-forestry and agro-ecological techniques used in the farm, among others. They were able to see how public support to agriculture can create a market for local production, while making a social investment in children and other vulnerable populations.
The delegation then visited a smallholder’s association, where farmers deliver their produce for onward distribution to the national school feeding and food acquisition programmes. It was an opportunity to see the quality and variety of fruits and vegetables that are purchased by these programmes. The agreement between DFID and WFP Centre of Excellence was symbolically signed at the farmer’s association. An explanation of the technical assistance and rural extension services provided by the Brazilian government to small farmers, as well as how credit is organised for small-holder farmers was provided.
“We read a lot about the Brazilian experience in the fight against hunger but we understand it when we see, visit and talk with people,” stated Andrew Mitchell during the visit.
Finally, the delegation visited a primary school, which receives regularly food produced by the farmers´ association visited. The school consist primarily of children of family farmers in the area. As a whole, the visit was an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of how school feeding is implemented and how school-feeding supply chains are organized as well as the benefits it brings to different target groups such as children, farmers and communities.
Besides Mitchell, the members of the DFID delegation were Kathryn Casson, Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State, Richard Parr, Special Adviser to the Secretary of State and Anthony Smith, Director for International Relations, as well as Daniel Bradley, DFID’s 1st Secretary for Climate and Development in Brazil. Representatives from the Brazilian Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger (MDS) and National Fund for the Development of Education (FNDE) also joined in the field visit.