World Food Programme (WFP) has initiated a food purchase programme from farmers for a period of five years effective January 2010.
The move is aimed at complementing government efforts to boost agricultural production and to improve farm incomes through market engagement.
According to the WFP Project Coordinator, Emmanuela Mashayo, the initiative which has been dubbed ‘Purchase for Progress (P4P)’, will ensure that farming in Africa and in Rwanda specifically, is more productive, profitable, and sustainable in line with the Millennium Development Goals.
“Purchase for Progress is a pilot initiative which integrates WFP’s food purchasing power with the technical expertise of other partners to help connect smallholder/low-income farmers, principally through farmers’ organizations, to markets and raise their incomes.
The goal is to ensure that WFP’s significant local procurement of food assistance contributes to long-term solutions to the hunger challenge,” said Mashayo in a statement.
WFP targets to purchase food commodities needed by its beneficiaries, this includes staple crops, such as maize; pulses, such as beans; blended fortified foods using local commodities, such as CSB and vegetable oil.
“While the fortified foods and vegetable oils are not readily available in the country, we hope that WFP demand may stimulate processing of such foods,” she said.
The initiative targets marketable surplus from small holder low income farmers country wide, however Mashayo says that the project may start with one province next year before being rolled out in the whole country.
“With the Crop Intensification Project, farmers have experienced 15 percent increase in production according to available statistics.
Providing market for the surplus may actually create sustainability in production and enhance support to the agricultural sector,” Mashayo noted.
The project will work in conjunction with existing farmer’s co-operatives. WFP has rolled this initiative in 21 other countries.