Connecting farmers to markets
As the world’s largest humanitarian agency, WFP is a major buyer of staple food. In 2012, WFP bought US$1.1 billion worth of food – more than 75 percent of this in developing countries. With the Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative, WFP is taking this one step further. P4P uses WFP’s purchasing power and its expertise in logistics and food quality to offer smallholder farmers opportunities to access agricultural markets, to become competitive players in those markets and thus to improve their lives.
The five-year pilot initiative links WFP’s demand for staple food in 20 countries with the expertise of a host of partners who support farmers to produce food surpluses and sell them at a fair price. By 2013, at least half a million smallholder farmers will have increased and improved their agricultural production and earnings. By raising farmers’ incomes, P4P turns WFP’s local procurement into a vital tool to address hunger. Learn more
Since the beginning of the P4P implementation in El Salvador, the strategy has been to strengthen smallholder farmers’ capacities and link them to sustainable markets beyond WFP. Despite facing numerous challenges, the P4P-supported farmers have now organized themselves, developed logotypes and created barcodes for collective sales to supermarkets and other stable buyers.
The agricultural productivity of women farmers in sub-Saharan Africa remains well below its potential. In Mozambique, 40 percent of the members in P4P-supported farmers’ organisations are women, yet they only contribute to about 10 percent of the sales. Through a series of strategic efforts, P4P is empowering women and boosting their productivity.
During P4P’s 6th Technical Review Panel (TRP) meeting in October, the independent technical experts met with the P4P Steering Committee for the first time. Key topics of the discussion were to understand the results of the pilot and how to move forward in order to maximize WFP’s impact on local market development.
P4P’s effort to boost local food production among smallholder farmers is an entry point for many multiplying development effects. By taking advantage of synergies, P4P is connecting agriculture with nutrition and gender. For example, in the village of Logo in Mali, P4P and its partners have helped women farmers improve yields, while also enriching their children’s diets.