Furaha Bernadette with her children in Ngoma District. Their life changed after selling Maize harvest to WFP P4P Programme Photo: WFP/John Paul Sesonga
The World Food Programme has purchased food worth some 350 million Rwandan francs (almost US$600,000) through its Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative in Rwanda.
The United Nations World Food Programme has announced that it has purchased food worth 352.8 million Rwandan francs (almost US$600,000) through its Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative in Rwanda this year. The move is destined to improve the livelihoods of thousands of smallholders in the central African country.
The food has been bought in Rwanda's eastern and southern provinces. The aim is that it will encourage farmers to increase production – a vital step toward achieving sustainable food security in their areas.
Ten co-operatives and two farmers' unions (altogether more than 14,000 small farmers) found a buyer in WFP for a total of 3,300 metric tons of maize grain and beans.
Bernadette Furaha, a mother of four, started cultivating a small plot of land in Kirehe District in Eastern Province after her husband was killed in the genocide of 1994. She said that through WFP's P4P scheme, she was trained in post-harvest management and that she had sold some of her maize crop to WFP.
“My life has changed dramatically,” said Mrs. Furaha, who has used the proceeds to build a tin-roofed house worth 200,000 Rwandan francs as well as to buy a cow and pay her children’s school fees. She said she can now afford medical insurance for herself and her children and that they are now eating better food.
P4P has also helped give women a greater role in agriculture (Rwandan law says at least 30 percent of members of a co-operative must be women).
This has enhanced the popular perception of women in rural areas. Farmers who benefitted from P4P have campaigned to encourage other farmers to increase production and learn post-harvest skills so that they can open up new markets and secure better prices.
John Paul Sesonga is from Rwanda. He has a law degree and a diploma in journalism from the Uganda Management Institute. He wrote various articles on economic and legal issues for Rwandan media outlets before joining WFP.