In Rwanda, the P4P initiative was launched in August 2009 with the selection of 25 cooperatives located mainly in the Eastern and Northern provinces of the country, representing over 14,000 farmers comprising of 6,500 women and 7,600 men.
The launch of P4P in Rwanda coincided with a number of major national initiatives. These included: the country’s Crop Intensification Programme (CIP) (2007-2010); the set-up of the Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) in 2007; the Post Harvest Task Force (PHTF) in 2010; and the launch of the National Post-Harvest Staple Crop Strategy (NPHSC) in 2011. These initiatives were followed by the government’s announcement in 2011 to proactively target agricultural cooperatives in the procurement of up to 40 percent of the public sector’s staple grain requirements, with an initial focus on the National Strategic Reserve (NSR).
Under the aegis of these programmes, in an effort to transform the agriculture sector and improve the collective marketing and bargaining power of smallholders in agricultural value chains, the Rwandan government has focused on land consolidation, increasing production, reducing post-harvest losses and strengthening smallholder cooperatives.
By June 2013, WFP had purchased over 7,000 metric tons of maize and beans worth US$3 million from smallholder farmers in 20 cooperatives.
To consolidate progress and learning for its initiatives, the Rwandan government looked to the experiences and approach of WFP’s P4P pilot. This provided them with an already tested strategy, set of tools and embedded capacity building programme for procuring directly from smallholder-based organizations. Within this context, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and WFP in July 2011 to collaborate on an initiative entitled Common P4P. Core to the government of Rwanda’s adaptation of P4P was the concept of leveraging the institutional purchasing power of a large and reputable buyer as an incentive for stimulating production and for bringing smallholder collective capacity to a standard where they can interact professionally with other large buyers.
The institutionalization and sustainability of the P4P approach through CP4P, builds on existing methods, tools and lessons and is reinforced by coordination mechanisms across Ministries, in particular MINAGRI and the Ministries of Commerce and Education, as well as the Rwanda Cooperative Agency and ongoing agricultural support schemes such as the CIP and PHTF.
So far, over 20,000 farmers from 54 cooperatives registered under CP4P, have received training on post-harvest handling and storage from P4P and its partners. Meanwhile, the Rwandan government purchases its food from a larger number of smallholder cooperatives across the country. Between 2011 and 2013, procurement by the National Strategic Reserve from cooperatives under CP4P totals over 6,100 metric tons and continues to increase.