ADDIS ABABA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today officially launched the Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative in Ethiopia. Through the project financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WFP plans to support almost 70,000 smallholder farmers by purchasing some 126,000 metric tons of food over the next five years.
P4P takes WFP local procurement a step further – it enables smallholder farmers to supply food to WFP operations and gives them the know-how and tools to become competitive players in the agricultural marketplace. The project increases the farmers’ income, which encourages them to produce more.
"P4P benefits both Ethiopia’s small farmers and WFP," said WFP Ethiopia Country Director Mohamed Diab. "The farmers have a secure market and income, encouraging them to grow more food, and WFP can buy food at competitive prices for people in need in Ethiopia.”
David Tibo, a farmer from Jara Galalcha near Awassa sold 4.5 metric tons of maize through his cooperative union to WFP. He said that his life had changed since taking part in the first P4P training at the end of 2009 as he learned about crop quality and diversification as well as market linkages.
“Now I receive a fair price and I am able to make some profit,” he said. “The profit not only allowed me to buy an ox but it gave me hope that I won’t return to poverty if I continue to produce more.”
Tibo is one of more than 4,000 farmers who benefited from P4P during the initial stage of the project in Ethiopia. Since February 2010, WFP has bought more than 5,500 metric tons of maize and beans from cooperative unions in Amhara, Oromya and SNNP regions.
The official launch is taking place today at the warehouse of the Sidama Elto Cooperative Union in Awassa and is being attended by Ato Yaregal Ayshesum, Director of the Federal Cooperative Agency, the WFP Country Director as well as donor representatives and partner organizations.
Through P4P, WFP supports the Government’s and the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange’s strategy to strengthen cooperative unions and smallholder farmers. “We are very pleased about this new WFP project,” said Ato Ayshesum. “P4P is exactly in line with our own initiatives to make Ethiopian farmers competitive players on the agricultural market.”
P4P in Ethiopia is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sasakawa Africa Association, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization.
WFP is already a well established buyer in the local market. Between 2004 and 2009, WFP purchased more than 592,000 metric tons of cereals, beans, fortified food and salt in Ethopia, valued at US$183 million – enough to feed around 4 million people for a month.