WFP, FAO and IFAD deliver as one at Zambia’s Agricultural Show

The three Rome-based UN agencies, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) jointly presented their work at Zambia’s 84th Agricultural and Commercial Show in Lusaka from July 29-August 2, 2010.

The annual show is an opportunity for businesses and organizations from across the country and the region to exhibit their products and services. Invited to exhibit as partners of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, all three UN agencies showcased their programmes in support of Zambia’s agricultural sector.
WFP’s presentation highlighted the Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme and the Mobile Delivery and Tracking (MDT) system. The P4P programme in Zambia is focused on transforming the way smallholders market their produce. In strengthening the commodity exchange and promoting district warehouses certified by the Zambia Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE), WFP and partners are providing the smallholder sector with direct access to the commercial market. This will change the way smallholder farmers sell their commodities: from selling a small quantity in an informal market at a low price to directly accessing the commercial market and selling aggregated quantities of higher quality for a better price. As these markets provide higher profits, smallholders have a higher incentive to invest in production. Connecting farmers not only to WFP but also to such wider commercial markets will ensure the sustainability of P4P activities in Zambia.
MDT, which uses an internet based platform and mobile phone technology, allows for real time registration of beneficiaries of WFP food assistance and electronic payments to local retail agents for providing food rations. Both projects were also chosen for their relevance to this year’s theme of the fair: “Sustainable Development.” The three UN agencies showcased their work under the motto: “Achieving Sustainable Development by delivering as one UN through Social and Economic Investment in the Agricultural Sector.”
In addition to farmers, retailers and fellow exhibitors, a number of dignitaries visited the UN stand. These included the guest of honour and President of Malawi, Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika; former Zambian President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda; Zambian Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Peter Daka; Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Felix Mutati; Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Bradford Machila; as well as Malawi’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Margaret Roka Mauwa, and Zambia’s High Commissioner to Malawi, Major Richard Kachingwe.
The event helped demonstrate the ongoing UN reform to increase national ownership, reduce transaction costs and increase effectiveness by combining expertise and creating synergies between the agencies. Providing support to the agriculture sector in Zambia is a major component of the UN’s efforts to help the country achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.