Farmers in Uganda have been called upon to plant maize, beans and other cereal crops that are bought by the World Food Programme in order to benefit from the agency’s new initiative to purchase food commodities directly from farmers.
Stanlake Samkange, WFP Country Director in Uganda says under Purchase for Progress WFP is buying commodities from farmers who are able to produce the required quality of produce.
He says Purchase for Progress is aimed at using WFP’s purchasing power to improve agriculture through increasing access of farmers to markets and improving incomes of small holder farmers.
“Other than focus on our food purchase and distribution for relief purposes, we want to ensure the food purchases we make bring about development by benefiting smallholder farmers,” Samkange said in an interview.
WFP Uganda Country Director explains Purchase for Progress
The new imitative started by WFP in 2008 to increase local purchases in areas where WFP operates. The P4P is being implemented in Africa (Uganda, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia); Latin America (Guatemala and Nicaragua) as well as Asia (Afghanistan and Laos)
Samkange says the WFP intends to purchase commodities worth 100 Million US dollars in Uganda but is currently only buying commodities worth 50 million US dollars because there aren’t many farmers with the quality of maize and beans (east Africa 1 standard) that WFP requires.
He revealed that the Purchase for Progress project in Uganda is giving farmers the know-how and the tools to be competitive players in the agricultural marketplace by funding agriculture market development initiatives aimed at boosting small holder farmer production and helping small holders access quality grain market through supporting infrastructure like storage facilities and access roads.
He says WFP is also working with the UCE to link farmers to financial institutions. Samkange says one of the advantages of the warehouse receipt system is that once a farmer deposits his or her commodities in the warehouse, she or he gets a receipt, which she or he can take to the bank to get a loan at the value of the deposited commodities.