The United Nations WFP announced on Tuesday that it had purchased food worth Rwf352.8 million (US$600,000) through its Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative which has benefitted hundreds of families in the country.
P4P programme was launched in 2008 by President Paul Kagame with an aim of empowering small scale farmers from developing countries, through buying foodstuffs from them to supply areas where WFP has operations.
A total of 3,300 metric tonnes of maize grain and beans was bought in the Eastern and Southern provinces from 37 cooperatives and two farmers’ unions, bringing together more than 14,000 small scale farmers.
Bernadette Furaha, a mother of four, started cultivating a small plot of land in Kirehe District, Eastern Province, after her husband was killed in the1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
She said that through P4P, she was trained by WFP on post-harvest management and managed to sell her maize to WFP.
“My life has changed drastically,” said Furaha, who used the proceeds to build an iron-roofed house worth Rwf200,000, bought a cow and paid her children’s school fees.
She said she now pays for medical insurance and that she and her children eat better meals.
In a statement from WFP, it was stated that P4P programme helped to give women a greater role in the initiative by seeking their active participation, since the law dictates that at least 30 percent of members of a cooperative must be women.
“This has improved the popular perception of the role of women in rural areas,” the statement reads.
“Farmers who benefitted from P4P have campaigned to encourage other farmers to increase production and learn post-harvest skills so that they can open up new markets and secure a better price,” reads the statement.