Brazil funds UN local food purchase projects in five African countries

Photo: FAO

21 February 2012 – Brazil is providing more than $2.3 million to support a new local food purchase programme to be set up by two United Nations entities for the benefit of farmers and vulnerable populations in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal, the UN agencies reported today.

Under an agreement signed in Rome, Brazil will fund the project to be set up by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

The programme will also draw expertise from Brazil’s own national Food Purchase Programme, known as PAA, which buys agricultural products from smallholders and delivers them to vulnerable groups, 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 will receive $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 give a new impetus to purchases from local farmers and home-grown school feeding schemes.

Besides helping supplement diets, 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, according to FAO.

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 produced through the participation of smallholders in the market.

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