Farmers from Kirehe district preparing maize after securing the market from WFP.
The World Food Programme (WFP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, declaring its intention to purchase 20,000 mt of maize and 10,000 mt of beans locally.
The agreement declares WFP’s intention to buy 20,000 metric tonnes of maize and 10,000 metric tonnes of beans locally in 2012, mainly from smallholder farmers and traders.
The agreement was signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ernest Ruzindaza and the Deputy Country Director of WFP, Jan Delbaere, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kigali. Delbaere said that “Rwanda has high quality agricultural produce especially maize and beans and it is in this regard that WFP decided to sign an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture to begin purchasing maize and beans locally”.
According to Delbaere, Rwanda is the second Sub-Saharan African country, after Tanzania, to sign such an agreement declaring WFP’s intention to buy cereals locally. The food commodities purchased under the agreement will be distributed in the region to various refugee camps in countries like Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Somalia.
On behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Earnest Ruzindaza said “the agreement presents Rwandan farmers with a ready market for their produce. The agreement we signed with WFP is an opportunity for farmers and their cooperatives to get a market for their produce, and I am optimistic that it will improve their welfare, economically and socially”.
In line with WFP’s mandate to save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies, prevent hunger and invest in disaster preparedness, WFP recently established a mechanism for the advance funding of local purchase known as the “Forward purchase facility”. The objective of this approach is to allow the prepositioning of food commodities within the Eastern and Central African regions to be used in countries where emergency food assistance may be quickly needed, such as South Sudan, Somalia, DRC and Burundi among others. Forward purchase facility will additionally provide a sustainable mechanism through which WFP can source food commodities locally, in a timely and cost effective manner. Rwanda has been identified as one of the countries with a growing potential for food purchases through the forward purchase facility initiative.
In Rwanda, the world food programme supports direct programme activities related to food assistance to 54,000 Congolese refugees , Rwandan refugees returning home, school feeding, food for work, nutrition and other interventions. The agency also supports national capacity building in implementing food related safety net programmes as well as emergency preparedness and response. In line with WFP’s strategic objective to better use food assistance to underpin sustainable hunger solutions.
WFP is also buying food locally in Rwanda through the Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative since 2010. In 2011, WFP’s local purchases in Rwanda accounted for 83% of the food used in its programmes in the country. Through Purchase for Progress, WFP enhances sustainable access to markets for smallholder farmers and putting more cash in their hands and is one of the most powerful ways to boost rural livelihoods.