Saturday, June 26, 2010

WFP Increases Food Purchases from Ethiopian Farmers

June 24th- Today, the United Nation's World Food Program began the expansion of its Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative in Ethiopia. The program, which is partially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, not only buys food from local farmers to supplement their income, but also encourages them to grow greater quantities of their crops and increase the quality of their produce. A 2009 UN development index ranked Ethiopia 171st out of 182 countries for human development.

The P4P program aids over 500,000 farmers in 21 countries, 15 of which are located in sub-Saharan Africa. The WFP acts as a committed buyer, which ensures that farmers keep up an elevated level of productivity and reduces some of the risk that farmers face during hard times. The food that is purchased through P4P is later distributed to where it is needed, often through other WFP food programs. Between 2004 and 2009, the P4P spent over $183 million on food purchases, enough to feed 4 million people per month. Additionally, the P4P works with farmers on technical training to improve farming and storage techniques, as well as increasing their access to credit and the strength of farmers co-operatives. The P4P program has had a major impact in improving the livelihood of small scale farmers in developing countries. David Tibo, a farmer in Southern Ethiopia, said that because of the P4P, he may be able to send his four children to school: "I'm never going back to poverty."

-Matthew Thwaites

SOURCES: UN agency begins procurement scheme to benefit Ethiopian farmers- UN News Centre,, Ethiopia farms says things looking up with P4P-WFP