WASHINGTON D.C. -- The U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Chief Executive Officer Daniel W. Yohannes joined United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran to sign a memorandum of understanding today to scale up MCC’s and WFP’s global economic growth, poverty alleviation, and food security efforts.
MCC and WFP have been working together in Ghana, where WFP recently bought 1,000 metric tons of maize worth US$360,000, enough to feed 70,000 people, from farmers and farmer-based organizations mostly trained through MCC-funded programs, as part of the UN agency’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative. P4P is an innovative program that seeks to leverage WFP’s purchasing power and link small scale farmers to markets in 20 countries.
“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,” said MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes. “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.”
“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.”
The memorandum signed today builds on a previous memorandum signed between MCC and WFP in December 2008, to expand the affordability and availability of food for the world’s poor. Under that first memorandum, MCC and WFP built a solid foundation for sustainability and collaboration in the global agricultural sector.
In addition to training farmers, MCC will fund the construction of agribusiness centers, which are post-harvest facilities where farmers can sell or store their crops. These privately-operated agribusiness centers are critical to the development of Ghana’s grain sector and will provide a reliable source of supply for WFP’s P4P and other WFP regional purchase programs.
Cooperation will continue in Ghana, and will likely extend to other countries, including Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Mali, and Senegal, where MCC and WFP both lead active projects. 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.
Since 2004, MCC has committed nearly $8 billion in grants through compacts with 22 developing countries. MCC partner countries have elected to use over $4 billion of this total investment to directly contribute to improved food security. MCC is equipping poor farmers with the tools they need to produce more, ensuring their own food security, and empowering them to contribute to the food security of their communities.
For over four decades, WFP has provided access to nutrition and improved quality of life for the world's most vulnerable people at critical times. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.