Connecting farmers to markets
Smallholder farmers produce most of the developing world’s food. Still, many live in absolute poverty. Others earn just enough to get by.
WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme connects smallholder farmers to markets, giving them an opportunity to grow their businesses and improve their lives and those of their entire communities.
Investing in smallholder farmers has the potential to improve hundreds of millions of livelihoods worldwide. Investments in smallholder agriculture can also strengthen rural economies, build more effective markets and increase food security and nutrition for those who need it most. This is why empowering smallholder farmers to become competitive actors in global food systems is crucial in our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Zero Hunger.
Under P4P, stable demand from WFP and partners provides smallholder farmers with an incentive to invest. P4P also brings together a wide range of partners to provide smallholders with support across the entire value chain – from production to post-harvest, business skills and access to finance. A variety of activities and approaches can be used to meet the needs of smallholder farmers and agricultural markets, changing lives and livelihoods for the better.
We have been implementing P4P since 2008. The programme was initially piloted in 20 diverse countries, changing the way in which more than one million farmers engage with agricultural markets. P4P has been embraced as an investment in sustainable growth and transformation by host governments, private sector and other partners, and is expanding to reach more than 35 countries.
What does one bag of beans mean in the global effort to end hunger? It turns out, a lot. 2016 is the International Year of Pulses. It is also the first full year in which we are officially working toward the Sustainable Development Goals, which set an ambitious but attainable target to end hunger by 2030. An important part of this is improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers – especially women. We have found a way of doing this that also strengthens resilience and improves nutrition: buying more beans and peas.
Through its school feeding programme in Burkina Faso, WFP provides daily meals for 132,000 students. In May 2015, a new item was added to the menu: yogurt, a nutritious, locally-produced product which is well-liked among students. The yogurt is part of a new project in Burkina Faso, which builds upon WFP’s expertise in school feeding and supporting market access for small-scale staple crop farmers under Purchase for Progress (P4P).
In most developing countries, smallholder farmers are the main actors in agriculture, though they tend to benefit little from their sales. With Purchase for Progress (P4P), the World Food Programme (WFP) seeks to provide these farmers with additional marketing options, in which they can capture larger margins by making collective sales to large-scale buyers like WFP.
In Zambia, the smallholder farmers of Chimpili Cooperative are benefiting from joint support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). With comprehensive supply-side support, improved infrastructure and market access, cooperative members are now growing sustainable businesses.