ROME, Italy, February 21, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Government of Brazil is providing $2 375 000 for a new local food purchase programme to be set up by FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP) to benefit farmers and vulnerable populations in five African countries – Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal.
Under an agreement signed here today, Brazil will fund the project, as well as share expertise drawn from its own national Food Purchase Programme (PAA).
Brazil’s PAA buys agricultural products from smallholders and delivers them to at-risk categories, including children and youth through school feeding programmes. The PAA is a cornerstone of the country’s Zero Hunger strategy.
Under today’s agreement FAO, which is to receive $1.55 million will look after the production side of the new project, providing seeds and fertilizer and boosting the capacity of small-scale farmers and farmers’ associations to grow, process and sell their produce. FAO will also mobilize Brazilian expertise in support of local purchase initiatives.
WFP, which is receiving $800 000, will be responsible for organizing the purchase and delivery of the food to schools and vulnerable groups.
WFP already purchases food locally for its programmes and is running a pilot called “Purchase for Progress” (P4P) to find ways to buy more directly from smallholders. The Brazilian-funded programme will bring a new impetus to purchases from local farmers and home-grown school feeding.
Besides helping supplement the diets of hungry people, the project is designed to strengthen local food markets, ultimately helping to improve food security and preventing future food crises.
Food purchase programmes provide a new perspective on agricultural development and food interventions. The traditional emphasis on technology transfer, aid and assistance is replaced with an effort to secure the social and institutional conditions required to ensure that populations at risk of food insecurity have access to quality food which is generated through the participation of smallholders in the market.
This can be accomplished by building on and strengthening existing institutions, production systems and local community and social networks.
The agreement was signed by Antonino Marques Porto e Santos, Permanent Representative of Brazil to FAO, by Laurent Thomas, FAO Assistant Director-General, Technical Cooperation Department, and by Amir Abdulla, WFP Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)