Statement By WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran On Record Purchases From Developing Nations

Published on 11 February 2011

The World Food Programme (WFP) procured $ 1.25 billion in food commodities last year, including the purchase of more food than ever before from developing nations. This food came from 96 nations, including Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Guatemala, and helped people affected by the epic flooding in Pakistan, the earthquake in Haiti, and the drought in the Sahel region of Africa.

During a time of record food prices, this investment saves lives and protects livelihoods by harnessing the purchasing power of WFP, one of the largest food buyers in the world, to invest in the agricultural economies of developing nations and deliver food assistance directly to the hungry poor who are most affected by natural disasters, wars and displacement. In 2010, WFP purchased wheat, maize, rice and also special nutritious products, which are packed with the vitamins and nutrients mothers and young children need in the critical 1,000 day window from the womb to 2 years of age, where failure to get the right foods can cause irreversible damage.

More than 80 percent of all food WFP bought last year came from developing countries. WFP's capacity to efficiently purchase has been enhanced by the growing quota of cash contributions and by new and innovative hunger tools.  Among these are advance purchase mechanisms, which allow the use of cash to buy centrally in advance and in bulk when prices are lower.  This approach allows us to save money, save delivery time and - most importantly - save lives.