Thursday, 23 December 2010

Connecting Farmers to Markets: the Purchase Progress (P4P) pilot initiative

As the world's largest humanitarian agency, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is a major food buyer. WFP spends hundreds of millions of dollars in food every year and around 82 percent of these purchaes in developing countries. Local procurement for WFP's food assistance programmes requires cost-efficiency, quality commodities and timeliness of deliveries.

Through the Purchase Progress (P4P) pilot initiative, WFP’s uses its demand in innovative ways to support the development of agricultural markets and small holders farmers' engagement in these markets. As the majority of the world's poorest people live in rural areas and rely on agricutural for their livelihood, P4P's contribution to agricultural development is an important step towards reducing hunger and poverty. Critical to the success of P4P is the wide range of partner to farmers in gaining access to new markets, for example:
  • Improving their skills to increase the quantity and quality of their crops-e.g.,training in farming techniques, and use of the best seeds and fertilizers for their land
  • Reducing post harvest loss-e.g., training in storage techniques and rehabilitation/construction of storage facilities.
  • Enhancing farmers' knowledge of markets-e.g., quality, pricing, packaging
  • Strengthening their farmers' organizations-e.g., training in management and negotiation of contracts, strengthening account and fiscal systems
  • Improving business skills-e.g., preparing business plans, access to credit.
During the European Development Days a panel discussion was organised on December 7th around the theme Food Security What Role For Local Authorities In Least Developed Countries?

The following extract of this panel discussion focuses on the presentation made by Ken Davies
P4P Coordinator.

Related videos:

Small farmers in Mozambique are making huge strides towards becoming competetive players in local markets with the help of techniques and equipment provided through WFP's innovative Purchase for Progress programme (P4P).
P4P in Zambia established a revolving fund for 38 maize shellers that have been distributed in 10 districts on a loan basis. These shellers save farmers’ time, reduce their costs and improve the quality of their crops.
In Uganda, P4P helps smallholders gain access to markets by expanding the network of collection points and warehouses and by improving the general transport infrastructure. Improved access to markets provides farmers the incentive to invest in production and enables partners to provide trainings.
David Tibo, a small farmer in Ethiopia, looks back on his first year under the P4P programme, which has helped him raise his profits and think optimistically about his plans for the future.
Kenya has the potential to produce enough staple foods to be self-sufficient. But smallholder farmers struggle with poor market infrastructure, inadequate agronomic practices, lack of technical support and an over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture. Through P4P, farmers are being trained to address some of these hurdles.
P4P in Kenya his helping smallholder farmers improve their agricultural production and access markets for staple crops. The project is providing farmers training in agricultural production techniques, as well as in post-harvest handling, storage and quality standard. This video is being used to train farmers on some of these aspects.