Statement by WFP Executive Director on Purchase for Progress Initiative in Malawi

Published on 02 July 2010

For the first time ever in Malawi a farmers’ organization, made up of over 95,000 smallholder farmers, has won a competitive bid this week for the World Food Programme.

This purchase of 50 metric tons of maize was part of WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative, an innovative project that uses WFP’s purchasing power to connect smallholder farmers to agricultural markets, helping them to successfully compete for bids and improve the lives of their families and communities.

P4P has now been launched as a pilot in 21 countries – including Malawi – and this historic purchase was made from the Grain and Legumes Association through an emerging commodity exchange - the Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa (ACE) – located in Lilongwe.

WFP is working with the ACE to help them to sell their surplus by attracting more traders, leading to a more competitive and transparent market.  WFP has already bought over 3,100 metric tons of food commodities through ACE.

As well as supporting the commodity exchange, P4P is also buying directly from farmers’ organizations and helping them meet market standards. In one of these transactions, WFP purchased almost 41 metric tons of maize purchased from the Chikwatula Farmers’ Organization. The maize was used in WFP’s school meals programme.

With their profits, the organizations have been able to buy pallets to improve storage conditions and prevent spoiling and have invested part of their earnings in seeds and fertilizers for the next harvest. Overall, WFP in Malawi has bought a total of 3,145 mt of commodities through P4P, including maize, maize meal, corn-soya blend and pulses.

WFP has been buying food in developing countries for many years. Now it is taking that one step further with P4P, a pilot programme in 21 countries funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, European Commission, Governments of Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg, United States of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Launched in September 2008, P4P links WFP’s demand for staple commodities with the expertise of a host of partners who support farmers to produce food surpluses and sell them at a fair price. By 2013, at least half a million smallholder farmers – mostly women – will have increased and improved their agricultural production and earnings. By raising farmers’ incomes, P4P turns WFP’s local procurement into a vital tool to address hunger.


For Further Information:
Laura Melo, P4P – WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 23261230, Mob. +39 347 5720559