Key P4P Pilot Publications

With the launch of Purchase for Progress (P4P) in 2008, the World Food Programme (WFP) began exploring ways of using its food purchases to help develop local staple crop markets and spur improvements in smallholder agriculture.

The P4P pilot emphasized an honest and transparent examination of what works and what does not. A rigorous research and development agenda was carried out to inform continuous improvements in pilot implementation, and identify effective and scalable models using procurement activities to achieve broad development goals for smallholder farmers.

The P4P Story

This publication provides an overview of the achievements made, challenges faced and lessons learned throughout the five year Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot. It highlights the experience of farmers, governments and other partners in the 20 pilot countries.


Purchase for Progress (P4P) - Reflections on the pilot

This report presents WFP's perspective on the five-year pilot, from the unique vantage point of the principal implementing agency. It provides a comprehensive view of key components of the pilot implementation, detailing the extraordinarily wide array of opportunities generated by the P4P approach, along with the correspondingly deep set of challenges addressed. 

Global Learning Series:

P4P Women's Empowerment Pathways

This report presents lessons learned on working toward gender equity and women's empowerment using demand-driven pro-smallholder market development. The qualitative analysis focuses on three inter-related themes of empowerment: social, economic and through capacity building. Crucially, the report highlights the importance of focusing on the quality of women farmers' engagement with P4P, rather than solely the number of women participating in meetings and training. Presented are several tools for engaging both men and women within communities and farmers' organizations to support women farmers' full engagement in agricultural activities.

Smallholder Farmers' Marketing Choices

Based on field research carried out in Burkina Faso and Rwanda, this paper provides an analysis of what drives smallholder farmers when deciding about when, where and how to market their produce. Using data from interviews with WFP staff as well as mini-surveys and focus group discussions with farmers' organization leaders and members, the paper outlines the ways in which different types of smallholder farmers use different marketing channels at different moments to mitigate risks, cope with challenges and meet the needs of their household. By outlining factors which may impact farmers' decisions of whether or not to market through their farmers' organizations, the paper also provides recommendations for most effectively supporting pro-smallholder procurement through farmers' organizations.

Impact Assessment Reports: Preliminary Findings from El Salvador, Ethiopia and Tanzania 

Throughout the P4P pilot, a range of positive changes were observed in the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers as well as in the capacity of their farmer organizations. To identify which can be directly attributed to P4P, in-depth impact assessments were carried out in four of the 20 pilot countries – El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania. Preliminary analyses have been carried out for three of the countries, with the Ghana Impact Assessment to be finalized in 2015. The studies utilize quasi-experimental designs that differ slightly to fit each country context, surveying participating and non-participating farmers and organizations to identify change attributable to P4P. Despite some methodological challenges, preliminary findings point to positive changes achieved through P4P support – particularly at the level of farmers' organizations, where P4P's work was most direct. 

Supporting Public Procurement from Smallholder Farmers

This report provides an overview of the ways in which P4P has supported other institutional buyers to better engage with smallholder farmers, with a focus on national food reserves and home grown school feeding programmes. It concludes that WFP's expertise in procurement, quality assessment, logistics, warehouse management and Monitoring and Evaluation can be leveraged to provide capacity development for other institutional buyers to make purchases from smallholder farmers and promote local market development while improving institutional efficiency. The paper also emphasizes the importance of community engagement and transparency of institutional buyers.

Markets for Quality beyond the World Food Programme

Based on data from buyers in 17 countries, this paper confirms that in the majority of P4P pilot countries, in addition to the local procurement of WFP, there are private and public markets for the quality crops produced by smallholder farmers. More research is recommended to fully understand buyers' quality and premium requirements and therefore the level of demand in each country. Additionally, the paper recommends further efforts to improve the enforcement of national quality standards, and that private sector actors continue strengthening connections with smallholders formed under P4P.

Other key publications: