Business

World Food Programme aids farmers to market produce

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
THE World Food Programme (WFP), through the purchase for progress programme (P4P), has provided market worth US$12 million for over 9,000 smallholder farmers in the last four years.
P4P helps empower smallholder farmers with necessary skills, information and technology to enable them provide high quality crops which can be aggregated in quantity, transported and sold to viable markets.
In a statement availed to the Daily Mail over the weekend, WFP says the initiative involves  small-scale  farmers that are engaged in the conservation agriculture scale-up (CASU) project being implemented by the Ministry Of Agriculture and supported by the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) with funding from the European Union.
“Through P4P, WFP has purchased nearly US$12 million worth of maize, beans, cowpeas and processed foods from more  than 100 farmer organisations representing more than 9,000 smallholder farmers in 16 districts of Zambia.
“WFP now wants to take this process to another level, scaling up to link smallholder farmers to multi-national food corporations. On the basis of its ‘Patient Procurement Platform’ (PPP), WFP has joined forces with the Kofi Annan Foundation to roll out this initiative in Zambia.
The PPP initiative being supported by Government will help link farmers and farmer organisations to the private and public value chain partners.
The programme will provide smallholder farmers with assured market ahead of planting, help them develop their capacity and give them access to financial services so they can grow their business and, ultimately, improve national food security.
“Purchasing agreements will be for longer periods than the typical spot contract. While such agreements will give farmers greater security, they will also involve longer-term   planning and organisation, hence the use of the word ‘patient’ in the project.
A total of 20,000 Zambian farmers have been engaged under the platform to produce soya, common bean, cowpeas and pigeon peas.

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