Ethiopian student enjoys a school meal produced by local smallholders. PAA Africa is being implemented in five African countries through collaborative efforts by the government, FAO and WFP. Credit: WFP/Ida Girma
Drawing from the expertise of Brazil’s widely acclaimed national local procurement programme, five African countries are piloting their own indigenous models. This small-scale pilot project known as PAA Africa, is implemented by FAO, WFP, local governments, and the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since its inception in 2012, PAA Africa has developed a complimentary approach to P4P, promoting the use of food items purchased from local smallholder farmers in WFP and government-run school feeding programmes.
In June, PAA Africa hosted an Institutional Markets Knowledge Sharing Seminar in Addis where P4P and other partners met to discuss smallholder procurement and share lessons learned.
The initiative, which was inspired by Brazil’s national Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos (Food Purchase Programme), also aligns with WFP’s Home Grown School Feeding programme, in which commodities are often purchased from local smallholder farmers using P4P modalities. These efforts maximize programme benefits as they can not only improve small-scale family farmers’ access to institutional markets, but also encourage school attendance and improve pupils’ food security. PAA Africa has proven to be an excellent opportunity to strengthen collaboration with African governments and civil society, leading to greater sustainability of WFP’s smallholder procurement initiatives.
PAA Africa is being piloted in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal since February 2012. Following an 18 month start-up phase, a further five year phase was launched in January 2014. WFP and FAO jointly support the implementation of PAA Africa with financial sponsorship from the Government of Brazil and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). In order to assist smallholder farmers to produce surplus of high quality crops and fresh food items, FAO facilitates access to inputs, and provides training in best agricultural practices and post-harvest handling. Building on lessons learned through P4P, demand for government and WFP’s school feeding programme provides the smallholders with an assured market, which can act as an incentive for them to invest in production.
Sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty
In order for local procurement initiatives to be sustainable, farmers must be able to access quality markets beyond WFP. In a video message to participants in June’s workshop, WFP’s Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said “The role of PAA-Africa is vital, as it is showcasing sustainable and innovative models for smallholder procurement that we can and will expand.” The added value of PAA Africa lies in the creation of innovative models to build sustainable institutional markets. For example, in Ethiopia and Malawi, funds have been transferred to district departments of education or directly to schools to manage procurement activities, purchasing food directly from local farmers’ organizations. PAA Africa continues providing them with support that fosters government ownership and builds local capacity. Government ownership and enthusiasm has been further strengthened through visits to Brazil where African leaders have been invited to learn from the Brazilian PAA model.