Big increase in local food purchased by WFP in Uganda

Published on 12 January 2011

Beans at the Millennium Village Project, one of WFP's suppliers in Uganda. Copyright: WFP/Frederic Coubert

Amount of locally-produced grain bought by WFP continues to rise - and Ugandan smallholders continue to benefit

KAMPALA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that it bought almost a third more grain from Ugandan suppliers last year than in 2009.

WFP Country Director Stanlake Samkange said that last year WFP bought an estimated 153,000 metric tons of food in country, some 35,000 metric tons – or nearly 30 per cent more than in 2009.

“Uganda is currently WFP’s largest local grain supplier on the African continent - after South Africa,” Samkange said.

Thanks to increased cash donations in recent years, WFP has become Uganda’s largest buyer of quality grain for operations in country as well as for operations elsewhere in Africa -  Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Local purchasing enables WFP to cut down on the cost of shipping food from abroad and enables the agency to better utilise donor funds.  It also helps boost the local economy.

The majority of the 153,000 tons came from commercial traders, but a proportion was bought from smallholders.

Local purchasing under WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative encourages smallholder farmer groups to widen their opportunities to access agricultural markets. One of WFP’s most innovative hunger solutions, P4P aims to boost incomes and improve the quality of life for poor farming households.

WFP has invested more than US$15 million from the United States, Japan and Saudi Arabia in addressing quality, infrastructural and productivity constraints in order to help smallholders sell more food to WFP and others.

WFP also continued to support the training of smallholder farmers in produce management in order to reduce post-harvest losses. Last year alone, WFP upgraded four warehouse receipt facilities and central warehouses in Gulu, Tororo and Kasese as well as constructing a warehouse in Kapchorwa.

“In 2011, WFP would like to upgrade another seven central warehouses, to build 58 community stores and to renovate 230 km of feeder roads,” Samkange said.

WFP has signed a joint action agreement with the Government of Uganda to provide agriculture and market support in partnership with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and other partners. P4P efforts are aligned with the National Development Plan and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Compact.