Support To Smallholder Farmers Spotlighted In Award To Gates And Buffett And New WFP-USAID Partnership

Published on 24 October 2011

The United Nations World Food Programme today expanded its partnership with USAID to support smallholder farmers in developing countries through its innovative Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot programme. The project was highlighted today at a WFPUSA award ceremony hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that honored Bill Gates and Howard Buffett as pioneers of this program that addresses hunger at its core. The keynote at the event was delivered by Vice President Joe Biden.

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, who is in Washington DC for the 2011 WFPUSA George McGovern Leadership Award, congratulated Gates and Buffett for their role in providing the vision and catalystic momentum to support WFP’s transformative P4P pilot programme.

“Today one out of every 7 people go to sleep hungry,” said Sheeran "Bill Gates and Howard G. Buffett have had the vision to support our P4P initiative, which is part of WFP’s goal to not only help reach the most vulnerable people overcome hunger, but to build sustainable food security solutions. I congratulate them on their award, and thank them for helping smallholder farmers break the cycle of hunger at its root.”

WFP’s new Memorandum of Understanding with USAID directly addresses access to finance for smallholder farmers in four countries in eastern and southern Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

“This is a major step forward in our goal of harnessing the productive power of smallholder farmers to defeat hunger in developing countries,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. “Working in close partnership with USAID, we will be literally extending a credit line to smallholder farmers that will unleash the potential for greater yields, higher quality and better access to local markets.”

The 2011 WFPUSA George McGovern Leadership Award was bestowed on Bill Gates and Howard G. Buffett in recognition of the critical role that their foundations have played in supporting WFP P4P pilot programme in 21 countries.
The US$67.1 million WFP has received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US$29 million in donations from the Howard G.Buffett Foundation have provided the foundation for an initiative that is supporting small scale farmers in developing countries, helping them to improve yields, raise quality, and connect more directly with local markets.

As small scale farmers produce more, and higher quality produce, they also become the source of food assistance purchased by WFP to feed hungry people – meaning more food can be purchased locally, and WFP funds can be ploughed directly into the agricultural economies of countries where hunger is still a threat.

Just halfway through WFP’s five-year P4P pilot, the results are compelling. More than 100,000 farmers, warehouse operators and small and medium traders have been trained in agricultural production, post harvest handling, quality improvement, marketing and finance skills.

Working with more than 250 partners, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to improve both quality and yields, WFP has spent some US$44 million purchasing more than 120,000 metric tons of food from farmers.