Executive Director Josette Sheeran met with Chief Executive Officer Daniel W. Yohannes of the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Monday to formalize an agreement between the two agencies.
Sheeran praised the success of the MCC and WFP partnership in Ghana, where 65,000 farmers have benefitted from trainings and P4P activities.
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“This is the kind of partnership that unleashes the potential of smallholder farmers, who hold the key to food security,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. “Connecting small farmers to markets helps transform local economies and can transform nations.”
WFP recently bought enough maize to feed 70,000 people, worth US$360,000, from farmers and farmer-based organizations mostly trained through MCC-funded programs. The purchase was part of WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative, an innovative program that seeks to leverage WFP’s purchasing power and link small scale farmers to markets in 20 countries.
“The reason I’m hopeful we will end poverty in my lifetime is because it’s not a permanent charity. When you end hunger, you create market activities,” said Sheeran. She emphasized that purchasing from farmers was really transforming their lives.
The new agreement between the two agencies builds on the success of ongoing partnership aimed to expand the affordability and availability of food for the world’s poor. Sheeran referred to the new agreement as a “memorandum of action” noting the great working relationship the agencies have developed in the field in the wake of the first MOU signed in December 2008,.
MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes praised the partnership as well, nothing that “Achieving MCC’s commitment to poverty reduction through economic growth requires partnering with those who share our vision for a world of greater opportunity and prosperity for the poor and vulnerable. MCC finds such a friend and partner in the World Food Program, which is pursuing innovation and results in advancing food security around the world.”
MCC and WFP’s collaboration is intended to improve and stabilize food security through a number of concrete measures, including:
• increases in agricultural productivity;
• improved access to credit;
• investments and training across the value chain, including in food production, post-harvest handling and storage, distribution systems, and market access;
• investments in agriculture infrastructure;
• improved access to water;
• incorporating nutrition interventions into maternal and child health programs, health education, and HIV programs; and
• integrating gender policies into agricultural activities to recognize the critical and central role that women play in sustainable food security.