BUTAJIRA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has handed over five pre-fabricated warehouses to cooperative unions in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, one of Ethiopia’s largest grain-producing areas, as part of WFP’s Purchase for Progress initiative (P4P).
“These new warehouses will help cooperative unions reduce post-harvest losses, and also to order more maize from smallholder farmers and thus encourage them to increase their production,” said WFP Deputy Country Director Pascal Joannes, who handed over the keys to the warehouses this week to representatives of the five cooperative unions.
The warehouses each have a storage capacity of 2,000 metric tons and represent a total investment of US$1.3 million (equivalent to 28 million Ethiopian birr).
In addition to warehouse buildings, WFP has also provided the cooperative unions with essential equipment – such as maize shellers, grain cleaning machines and fumigation material – as well as with training in warehouse operation and management to improve maize storage.
Currently, agricultural specialists estimate that between 10 percent and 20 percent of staple crops in East Africa are lost because of post-harvest storage and handling problems. The training in warehouse storage is aimed at addressing this issue, helping farmers to lose less maize to moisture or rodents.
WFP’s P4P initiative aims to use WFP’s purchasing power to connect small-scale farmers to markets. P4P supports more than 120,000 smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, more than in any other country. From the beginning of the project in 2010 until the end of last year, P4P has purchased over 113,000 metric tons of food from Ethiopian smallholder farmers via cooperative unions.
The warehouses handover is in line with the government’s Growth and Transformation Plan addressing the development transformation needed to reduce poverty and food insecurity in Ethiopia.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.
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