WFP buys record quantities of maize from Ethiopian Cooperative UnionsListen /
Local farmers' cooperatives in Ethiopia have begun delivering the largest amount of maize they have ever sold to the World Food Programme -WFP, enough to support more than 1.8 million people for a month.
Before the planting season last year, WFP signed forward contracts with 16 cooperative unions in Ethiopia for purchase of more than 28,000 metric tons of maize. The first deliveries on those contracts began arriving at WFP warehouses last week. The maize will be used for WFP relief distributions in Ethiopia.
This is being done under WFP's Purchase for Progress initiative (P4P), which is financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in collaboration with the government of Ethiopia through the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA).
WFP Country Director Abdou Dieng says "Our goal here is to support Ethiopia feeding itself", adding that "Buying food for our Ethiopia operation right here in Ethiopia makes sense in cost-effectiveness, and in providing a boost for the local economy by helping small farmers to get closer to markets".
The forward delivery contracts signed with the cooperatives are one approach the P4P pilot initiative is testing to promote small farmers' access to markets.
In 2012, WFP purchased more than 112,000 metric tons of food in Ethiopia, more than any other country on the continent.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.